2018 Giving Results: Don’t Be Fooled by the Increase

Charitable giving was up once again in 2018; however, the numbers should be a wake-up call to everyone in development and advancement.

Giving in 2018 was up 1.6% over the prior year. But remember, it increased by 8% in 2017.

The increase in giving came from gifts of $1,000 and above (which rose 2.6% over 2017). The number of gifts below $1,000 fell by 4%. Philanthropy leaders expected mid- and low-level gifts to decrease after the new 2017 tax law increased the standard deduction threshold. According to the Tax Policy Center, 8% of households now claim the charitable deduction as opposed to 21% before the law.

Other areas of concern:

  • The total number of donors dropped by 4.5%
  • New donor retention fell to 20.2%
  • The overall donor retention rate dropped to 45.5%.
  • We, as nonprofit professionals, must make donor retention a priority. Spend more time cultivating and stewarding than you do finding new donors.

To all donors, make your case every day. Show them how critical they are to your mission. Thank them…and then thank them again. Otherwise, giving will continue to slide.


Source: Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s 2018 Fourth Quarter Report

More data: PDF


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