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Latest 2018 Data from Giving USA Is Good News! (For Now)

Giving USA is the most widely anticipated and recognized report on the “state of our sector.” It’s the State of the Union for philanthropy, if you will.

And the latest data from Giving USA is good news! For now …

Below is a summary of what’s in this video—not an exact transcript. But you’ll get the gist whether you decide to read, listen, or watch.

Giving USA 2018—Good News for Fundraisers

The recently released Giving USA 2018 report paints a rosy picture … at least, for the time being.

The good news is that giving is up across the board!

Giving to charity by Americans crossed the $400 billion mark for the first time this year. The economy is strong and there was growth in almost all areas.

The bad news is that the future is unknown. (This is me surmising … not from the Giving USA report directly.)

Implications of the New Tax Law

What I’m referring to are the unknown implications from the new tax bill. We (in the charitable sector) always used to say that taxes were low on the list of reasons people gave, but now we’re going to see if that’s true.

In other words, people give because they’re passionate and want to make a difference, not for tax reasons. However, that assumed truth is going to be put to the test.

Finally, some more good news …

Individuals Continue to Give the Most

As has been the case for many years, individuals give approximately 70 percent of the charitable dollars in this country and an additional 9 percent comes via bequest.

Meanwhile, corporations and foundations combined only give 21 percent. So, if you’re a development director who’s responsible for “doing it all” and you’re spending 50 percent, 60 percent, or 70 percent or more of your time on raising money from corporations and foundations, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity to raise money from individuals.

In other words, if you’re spending most of your time on corporations and foundations—you’re probably making a mistake.

So … keep working on raising money from individuals. If you’re raising major gifts, you’re still on the right track.

Other Key Takeaways

Other things to keep in mind are that a huge amount of donations went into donor-advised funds. That may or may not be good for charities. Not only that, another enormous amount of individual giving came from the ultra-wealthy in the form of mega-donations—$200 million or more.

What did you think of the Giving USA Data? Any other key takeaways? Leave your comment below.

Giving USA 2018—Resources

Tales from the Crypt: Dead People Are Better Donors Than CorporationsThe preceding is a cross-post by author, speaker, and trainer Amy Eisenstein. Amy’s published books include Major Gift Fundraising for Small Shops, Raising More with Less, and 50 A$ks in 50 Weeks. She became an AFP certified Master Trainer in 2009. Amy recently completed her service as the president of the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals—New Jersey Chapter. She became a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) in 2004 and received her advanced certification, ACFRE, in 2013. Check out her blog and video posts at for free fundraising tips and best practices.

Topics: Charitable Giving Giving USA 2018 Sources of Giving