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BlogChanges in Giving May Not Be a Cause for Alarm

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Hands holding money to represent philanthropic giving.

Changes in Giving May Not Be a Cause for Alarm

Giving USA Report Points to Shift in Philanthropic Giving

Hands holding money to represent philanthropic giving.Giving USA released its annual report on philanthropic giving last month. The report states that charitable giving declined in 2022 after record-breaking years in 2020 and 2021 when charitable giving surpassed $500 billion. Although this may sound the alarm for some nonprofits that rely on donations to continue services, there are some things worth considering in the report's findings.

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals were particularly generous with nonprofits that were struggling to keep services and fundraising activities going while social distancing practices were in place. Donors responded by opening their wallets perhaps even a little more than previous years to help support their community.

By the time 2022 rolled along, Americans were faced with new challenges. Inflation reached a 40-year high, posing economic uncertainty. Households were spending more at the grocery store, and on home repairs and services, leaving less disposable income to donate to charitable causes. Additionally, in the latter half of 2022, stock prices tumbled at a time when many individuals make their charitable contributions for the year, causing some to donate less than usual.

Supporting Nonprofits Through Foundations

Our society continues to support charities, but there has been a shift in how we are supporting our nonprofits. Giving by individual donors had the sharpest decline in 2022 and has been on the decline for years. Forty years ago, when Giving USA started recording charitable giving data, individual giving made up 80% of charitable gifts. By 2018, the percentage of individual donors declined to 70%. In the 2022 data, donations given from individuals totaled 64%.

One reason for the shift in individual giving may be the rise of more individuals establishing family foundations or funds through a community foundation. Dollars to support charitable intentions are given through established foundations rather than their individual pocketbook. In fact, the Giving USA Report shared that giving through foundations had the largest increase, contributing 21% of all charitable gifts in 2022.

The Future of Charitable Giving

What does this mean for organizations as they attempt to reach their fundraising goals this year? History tells us that charitable giving will rebound. Last year’s decline in giving is only the fourth time in the last 40 years that charitable giving did not surpass the previous year. In fact, if you ignore the previous two years when donors were exceptionally generous, 2022 donations were on pace with giving prior to the pandemic. As your nonprofit plans its future fundraising activities, consider building your donor portfolios with more emphasis on foundations and corporations.

AMP UP Podcast with Bryan Earnest and Mark MathisFor more information on the shift in the fundraising climate, listen to our AMP Up Podcast, "The Evolution of Fundraising" (more episodes: AMP Up Podcast) or contact AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising at 319.268.9151 or

Written by:

As Director of Fundraising at AMPERAGE, Jennifer leads a team of experienced fundraising consultants offering expertise in fundraising campaign management, prospect identification and cultivation, campaign communications and donor stewardship. With more than 20 years in the fundraising and marketing industry, she is a true professional when it comes to consulting on a successful campaign, providing recommendations and solutions and helping clients achieve high-dollar fundraising goals. Jennifer’s communication skills and measurable results keep enthusiasm and support high until campaigns reach a successful finish. She also excels in effectively conducting feasibility studies, coordinating case statements and marketing materials, managing solicitation, leading volunteer training sessions and more. Prior to AMPERAGE, Jennifer served as the campaign manager at the University of Iowa Foundation. During her tenure there, Jennifer played an instrumental role in reaching two universitywide campaign goals of $1 billion and $1.7 billion. Jennifer also served as the director of advancement at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport. Her background gives her expertise in conducting feasibility studies, campaign execution, prospect identification, solicitation management and donor solicitations. Jennifer has worked on capital campaigns for museums, libraries, conservation organizations, public/private partnerships and more. In support of these campaigns, she has evaluated prospects; trained campaign volunteers; coordinated the creation of videos, case statements and campaign collateral materials; helped develop campaign messaging; and led fundraising software training. She has served on the board of directors for Quad Cities Planning Giving Council and Bethany for Children and Families.