Monday, June 20, 2011

Giving Makes a Slight Rebound. Is this the New Normal for Nonprofits?

The highly anticipated GIVING USA 2011: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2010 was released today.  It shows that over $290 billion was given to charity last year. Adjusted for inflation, this is a 2% increase over 2009.

This is mixed news for nonprofits because while giving is up 2% over last year, this gain does not make up for the two years of dramatic declines due to the recession.  According to the study, it appears that donors are still reeling from a sputtering economy and are giving less to charity.

In addition, giving is not up across the board.  Environment and animal welfare organizations actually saw a decrease in giving in 2010.  See chart below.

Of course the question on everyone's mind is, "What's Next?"  Is the downturn over?  Will we get back to pre-recession giving levels soon?  What should we do in the interim when our donors are not giving or able to give?  Is this the "new normal?"

The answer seems to lie in one word - STEWARDSHIP - or "recognizing and thanking donors in a fashion that will cultivate future giving."  Conceptually, good stewardship is such a no-brainer but it's often difficult to put into practice.

What are you doing to stay in touch with donors who are hurting?  How are you staying connected to loyal supporters?  What are your plans for acclimating to, what could be, the "new normal?"


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