Overall Giving Trends

Sneak Peek

2%​

Overall Giving Growth YOY

5.3%

Three-Year Increase in Overall Giving

20%

Percentage of Contributions in December

$737

Average donation amount

In this section, you'll find

Overall giving in 2020 grew 2.0% on a year-over-year basis for the 8,833 nonprofit organizations in the analysis. This is the ninth consecutive year where the Charitable Giving Report has reported an increase in giving.

Overall Giving Trends by Size

Fundraising by large organizations, with total annual fundraising of more than $10 million, was up 5.3%. Medium-sized organizations, with total annual fundraising between $1 million and $10 million, had an increase of 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. Small nonprofits, with total annual fundraising less than $1 million, experienced a 7.2% decrease in fundraising results compared to 2019.

A three-year view of fundraising from the same organizations revealed a 5.3% growth in overall giving. Taking a longitudinal view of giving trends helps provide a more representative perspective of what is happening with charitable giving in the United States. Fundraising challenges in 2020 clearly impacted smaller nonprofits and is apparent in the three-year as well. Large and medium-sized organizations continued to have a very positive three-year growth trend.

2020 Overall Giving Trends by Size

“In a year when a global pandemic altered how we live, work, and give combined with a call to address injustice and support equality, it was the light of giving that shone through.”

Steve MacLaughlin, Vice President, Product Management, Blackbaud and Senior Advisor, Blackbaud Institute

U.S. Donor Profiles and Behaviors

Using data science and data assets, Blackbaud Target Analytics® is in a unique position to provide key insights into the U.S. nonprofit subsector and its donors. These insights provide answers to some of the most common questions asked by fundraising and nonprofit professionals.

Donor Age

64
Average Age of Donor in the U.S.

Long recognized as one of the most reliable predictors of giving, age reflects life experience and correlates to earning capacity and relative debt reduction. More critically, age is just one of many demographic indicators that provides a solid foundation for identifying, connecting with, and stewarding your most valuable constituents.

Donor Retention

29%

First-Year, Offline-Only Donor Retention Rate

59%

Multi-Year, Offline-Only Donor Retention Rate

Your organization should calculate your overall donor retention rate annually to assess who chooses to stay in your donor circle every year. While organizations with a high retention rate keep or renew many donors from year to year, those with a low rate must acquire new donors to keep their bottom lines above water. This reinforces the significance of calculating retention to benchmark your internal progress from year to year.

One facet of retention—sustainer giving—is a long-term strategy by which donors regularly commit to giving a pre-specified donation amount. By allowing donors to give the amount of their choice, sustainer programs automatically support retention while ensuring a dispersed revenue source. Returns on sustainer giving are long-term, and the success of your sustainer program relies on excellent retention strategies.

Donation Amounts

$737

Average Donation Amount

$177

Average Online Donation Amount

$20

Median Donation Amount for Gifts Below $1,000

$2,500

Median Donation Amount for Gifts Above $1,000

In addition to these figures, you can better target the right donors—those with the capacity and a propensity to give to your cause—just by knowing more about their spending habits. Resources like the Share of the American Wallet report illuminate trends in spending and the demographic indicators that support organizations in efficiently identifying top prospects.

Overall Giving Trends by Nonprofit Subsector

Each organization in The Blackbaud Institute Index is categorized by one of 12 subsectors using its National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities—or NTEE—code as reported on Form 990. These subsectors are Animal Welfare, Arts and Culture, Environment, Faith-Based, Healthcare, Higher Education, Human Services, International Affairs, K–12 Education, Medical Research, and Public and Society Benefit. Each subsector is weighted based on Giving USA data to ensure that no individual organization or subsector is overrepresented in the analysis. The Index also includes giving to Foundations, but this data is not currently used to calculate giving trends to avoid the potential of double-counting revenue. Human Services nonprofits grew by 12.1% in 2020, followed by Faith-Based organizations with an increase of 3.1%. The impact of COVID-19 on other organizations stifled their growth in 2020 compared to 2019.

Taking a longer view of subsector trends, nonprofit organizations in the Human Services, Public and Society Benefit, Faith-based, and Animal Welfare subsectors have had the best three-year giving trend performance.

2020 Overall Giving Trends by Subsector

Three-Year Rolling Trend

2020 Average Donation Amount by Subsector

New this year in the Charitable Giving Report is the measure of average donation size by subsector. Across all subsectors, the average donation amount is $737. There is a significant variance among different subsectors. It is attributable to organizations with a larger number of major and principal donations from donors. For example, Higher Education organizations have an average donation of $1,671 compared to $272 for Animal Welfare nonprofits. This analysis includes all donations, including large major donations. Nearly every subsector experienced significant growth in average gift amounts in 2020 compared to 2019.

2020 Average Overall Donation Amounts by Subsector

Overall Giving Trends by Month

Last year was a continuation of multi-year trends in monthly giving patterns. October, November, and December continue to represent 36% of charitable giving, which has been true for many years now. While December remains the largest month as a percentage of giving, June continues to drive giving due to end-of-fiscal year fundraising campaigns.

While a look at year-over-year change provides a glimpse into recent months, we must look at data from a multi-year perspective to understand the full scope of giving trends. Organizations should anticipate growth as they kick off giving days and end-of-year campaigns. Know which months yield the highest giving for your organization, and ensure that you are prepared to use these opportunities and maximize your end-of-year campaign.

2020 Overall Monthly Giving Distribution by Subsector

Your organization is likely one of many vying for the attention of supporters during the end of the year, and a thoughtful campaign approach can help you stand out from the asks your supporters are receiving. Most organizations target end-of-year communications at the supporters who have given in the last three years. You’ll want to be sure that your files and records are in order to execute a seamless campaign. Your message must resonate with your audience while inviting them to once again partner with you by renewing their support.

Download the Charitable Giving Report

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Where to next?

See the highlights of this year’s report and how you can make the most of the information to enhance your strategies.

In this section, you'll find:

  • Executive Summary of Findings
  • How to Use a Benchmark
  • About the Report and Blackbaud Institute Index
Read More

Learn more about 2020’s banner year in online giving.

In this section, you'll find:

  • Online Giving Trends by Size
  • Fundraising from Online and Mobile Giving
  • Online Giving Trends by Month
  • Online Giving Trends by Subsector
Read More

Get a glimpse into how international giving trended in 2020.

In this section, you'll find:

  • Canada Giving
  • United Kingdom Giving
  • Australia/New Zealand Giving
Read More