Giving USA Report for 2008 and Online Fundraising Estimates | npENGAGE

Giving USA Report for 2008 and Online Fundraising Estimates

By on Jun 10, 2009


The GivingUSA Foundation has released its Giving USA 2009: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2008. The report shows the first decline in giving to US charities in current dollars since 1987. Blackbaud also analyzed the data, along with other information, to estimate the growth of online fundraising by US-based nonprofits.

2008 Total Giving Estimates
Giving USA estimates that $307.65 billion was given in 2008, exceeding $300 billion for the second year in a row. The 2007 estimate was revised to $314.07 billion. The change from 2007-2008 is a decrease of 2% or -5.7% adjusted for inflation.

Although this 2008 figure is the first decline in giving in current dollars since 1987, giving still represented 2.2% of GDP. These donations were primarily from:

  • Individuals — $229.28 billion, down 2.7% (-6.3% inflation-adjusted)
  • Foundations — $41.21 billion, up 3% (-0.8% inflation-adjusted)
  • Charitable bequests — $22.66 billion, down 2.8% (-6.4% inflation-adjusted)
  • Corporate giving — $14.5 billion, down 4.5% (-8.0% inflation-adjusted)

Where Donors Gave in 2008
Only religious, public-society benefit, and international affairs showed positive changes in contribution totals. The biggest percentage drops were felt by grant-making foundations and human services organizations.

Of the $307.7 billion given to US charities, more than $106.89 billion went to religious organizations. This was an increase of 5.5%, or 1.6% adjusted for inflation. This is the second year in a row religious giving has topped $100 billion. The remainder of the donations went to the following groups:

  • Education — $40.9 billion, a decrease of 5.5% (-9% inflation-adjusted)
  • Gifts to grant-making foundations — $32.65 billion, a decline of 19.2% (down 22.2% inflation-adjusted)
  • Human services — $25.88 billion, down 12.7% (-15.9% inflation-adjusted)
  • Public-society benefit — $23.88 billion, up 5.4% (up 1.5% inflation-adjusted)
  • Health — $21.64 billion, down 6.5% (-10% inflation-adjusted)
  • Arts, culture, and the humanities — $12.79 billion, down 6.4% (-9.9% inflation-adjusted)
  • International affairs — $13.3 billion, up 0.6% increase (down 3.1% inflation-adjusted)
  • Environment/animals — $6.58 billion – down 5.5% (-9% inflation-adjusted)
  • Deductions carried over and other unallocated giving — $19.39 billion
  • Foundation grants to individuals is a new category and accounted for $3.7 billion

Online Giving Surpasses $15 Billion in 2008
Blackbaud analyzed the Giving USA data, along with other important metrics, and estimates that more than $15.42 billion was given online to US charities in 2008. This is a 44% increase over 2007's online giving estimates. Online giving accounted for just over 5% of total giving to charities in the US during 2008 and has been growing for many years now.

The analysis is based on the GivingUSA Foundation's previous research findings, The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University's Philanthropic Giving Index, the Target Analytics 2008 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis, The Chronicle of Philanthropy's Survey of Online Fund Raising, and Blackbaud's 2008 State of the Nonprofit Industry survey.

Online giving continues to grow in terms of dollars raised and as a percentage of total fundraising revenue. The steady increase in online fundraising continues despite challenging economic conditions and declines in other channels. Blackbaud's analysis of Q1 2009 online giving showed a 68% growth over the same time period in 2008 for our clients.


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