Statistics help tell a story about what has happened and what is on the verge of happening. At least that’s been my experience over the past decade working with nonprofit organizations. In that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to speak at over 200 nonprofit events and do a fair amount of writing about trends across the sector.

I have used statistics and data points to help tell people different stories about what is happening in and around the nonprofit sector. They’re the proof point that change is happening and a predictor of where philanthropy is headed in the future. Year after year, I’d find some new stats to use and old ones that needed to be retired.

A year ago, I decided to put together 50 of the statistics that were fascinating to me (and people who heard them). It turned out to be a mix of facts and figures about the nonprofit sector, charitable giving, online engagement, and key trends in donor cultivation.

These stats found their way into a Slideshare post that has since been viewed 68,000 times and several presentations at nonprofit conferences. There were packed rooms at NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference and the AFP International Fundraising Conference to see my latest stunt: Cover all 50 statistics and why they’re important in a very short period of time.

You can imagine my numerical delight when Blackbaud launched the brand new 50 Fascinating Philanthropy Statistics website. It’s a compilation of the most up-to-date statistics from around the nonprofit sector. It also has been expanded to include data on the nonprofit sector, giving, fundraising tactics, donor characteristics, platform and device information, and foundations.

It’s a great resource and over time we’ll not only keep it updated, but plan to add more statistical goodness too.


Steve MacLaughlin is a Director of Analytics at Blackbaud, the leading provider of technology and services to the nonprofit sector. Steve has spent 20+ years driving innovation with a broad range of companies, government institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

MacLaughlin has been featured as a fundraising and nonprofit expert in many mainstream publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA Today, The NonProfit Times, Bloomberg, and has appeared on NPR.

He is a frequent speaker at events including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), American Marketing Association (AMA), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA), Giving Institute Summer Symposium, National Association of Independent School (NAIS), Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), Institute of Fundraising National Convention, Civil Society Conference, Resoure Alliance’s Fundraising Online, and a keynote speaker at such events as the Crescendo Practical Planned Giving Conference.

Steve serves on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Board of Directors and supports its focus on both the growth and professionalism of the nonprofit technology field as well as building knowledge and information sharing capacity throughout the sector.

He is a frequent blogger, published author of a chapter in the book People to People Fundraising: Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities, and is a co-editor of the book Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets. His latest book, Data Driven Nonprofits, will be published in September 2016.

Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University.

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