The 2012 Charitable Giving Report | npENGAGE

The 2012 Charitable Giving Report

By on Feb 4, 2013


The 2012 Charitable Giving Report includes 24 months of overall giving data from 3,144 nonprofit organizations representing $7.9 billion in total fundraising. The report also includes online giving data from 2,581 nonprofits representing $512 million in online fundraising. It is the largest analysis of overall and online giving trends in the nonprofit sector.

Overall  Giving Trends

Giving to religious organizations grew by 6.1% and this helped to lift overall giving as this sector receives the largest share of charitable dollars in the United States. Education institutions also had a positive year with 1.9% growth in fundraising compared to 2011.

These two sectors combine for 45% of charitable giving in the US. Arts and culture, as well as environment and animal welfare organizations were the only other sectors to experience fundraising growth in 2012.

Online Giving Trends

Online giving grew 10.7% in 2012 compared to 2011. Large organizations grew by 7.2%, medium sized organizations grew 14.3%, and small nonprofits grew 11.8% on a year-over-year basis.

Education organizations grew their online fundraising the most in 2012 with an increase of 17.9%. These nonprofits continued to have the largest growth rate for the second consecutive year.

Percentage of Total Fundraising from Online Giving

Blackbaud used data from The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving over the past year to examine percentage of total fundraising that came from online giving. We looked at total giving for 2,025 organizations with $4.8 billion in total fundraising and found that, on average, online donations accounted for 7% of overall fundraising. This was an increase from 6.3% in 2011 and is nearing the record level of 7.6% from 2010 when online giving spiked in response to Haitian earthquake relief efforts.

Perspectives from Across the Nonprofit Sector

Todd Cohen, founder of Philanthropy North Carolina, interviewed several leading fundraising professionals in all nine fields of interest where Blackbaud tracks fundraising performance. There are some really great insights from this section of the report. Here are a few quotes that I wanted to share from the report:

“You just can’t rely on those same dollars from those same donors” – John Taylor, Associate Vice Chancellor, North Carolina State University

“As with any good relationship, the frequency and regularity of communication has everything to do with building a good relationship, along with the content of the communication.” – Rick Dunham, President and CEO, Dunham+Company

“You don’t want to tell donors why they should give. You want them to tell you why they should give.” – Kimberly Kubik, Director of Institutional Advancement, Shady Hill School

“Key to effective fundraising, is a strong culture of philanthropy within an organization.” – Bill McGinly, President, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

“What fundraisers have to understand is that different donors come to the organization with different interests and priorities, and you have to organize your fundraising strategies around those different types of donors.” – Bob Ottenhoff, President and CEO, Center for Disaster Philanthropy

You can get the entire 2012 Charitable Giving Report online at:


Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and bestselling author of Data Driven Nonprofits.

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, Stanford Social Innovation Review, 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 Conference (NTC), Institute of Fundraising National Convention (United Kingdom), Civil Society Conference (Netherlands), International Fundraising Congress (Netherlands), Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School (Ireland), and a keynote speaker at several conferences across the social good sector.

Steve previously served on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Board of Directors and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.

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, became a bestseller in 2016.

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

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