As the number of small and medium-size gifts from individuals falls, many nonprofits increasingly are relying on major donors for support, a report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy finds.
Funded in part by the Raikes and S.D. Bechtel, Jr. foundations, the report, Crucial Donors: How Major Individual Givers Can Best Support Nonprofits (38 pages, PDF), found that donors of "major" gifts — defined as gifts of at least $7,500 — are growing in importance as a source of funding for nonprofits. Based on survey responses from nearly two hundred nonprofit CEOs to CEP's Grantee Voice panel, the report found that nonprofit leaders are spending more time building personal relationships with major donors as those gifts become larger and that they expect the trend to continue. According to the report, the relationship-building is required in part to bridge an "understanding gap," with the aim of helping major donors better understand the nonprofits they support and why nonprofits benefit from multiyear commitments, unrestricted gifts, and other kinds of support beyond money.
"There is tremendous opportunity for philanthropy to contribute significantly to progress against the toughest social problems that defy government and market solutions," report co-authors Ellie Bateau and Hannah Martin write in a blog post. "While philanthropy alone cannot solve all of the world's complex social problems, it can take on pressing challenges that other actors in society cannot or will not."