Individual Giving: 2017 Report Shows Increase Year over Year

Individuals have long contributed the lion’s share of charitable giving over the years.

Last year’s record-breaking level of philanthropy was no exception, with individuals contributing 71% of the $410.02 billion of charitable donations. According to Giving USA 2018, Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy for 2017, individual giving was up 5.2% over 2016 (in current dollars). This includes gifts of cash, securities and property.

Economic conditions in 2017 were indeed favorable for giving:

  • Personal income increased by 3.1% over 2016.
  • Disposable personal income was up by 2.9%.
  • Personal consumption expenditures increased 4.5%.
  • S&P 500, the primary influence on asset health, increased 19.4%.

These factors, in part, explain some of the increases in giving:

  • Giving by itemizing households increased 5.6% in 2017.
  • Giving by non-itemizing households increased 3.3%.

Donor retention, the share of donors who contributed in both 2016 and 2017, stayed steady at 45.5%. Gift retention, the share of dollars raised in 2016 and again in 2017, increased slightly from 47.8% to 48%. Overall, organizations saw $247 million in new dollars in 2017, a 2% increase in charitable receipts.

According to a survey by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC), 63% of organizations reported an increase in receipts in 2017. These organizations also reported on the fundraising methods they used and the effectiveness of these methods. The graph below shows the percentage of organizations that used each method and the percentage of organizations reporting that their revenue stayed the same or increased over last year using that fundraising method.

What is your experience?

Has your organization seen an increase in giving by individuals? How did you reach them? What fundraising methods did you use? What was most effective for your organization? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

Share your thoughts