According to Giving USA, giving by individuals totaled $292.09 billion in 2018, which represented 68% of all charitable giving.1 Adjusted for inflation, this represented a 3.4% decline in giving compared to 2017, and marked the first time within the last 50 years that individual giving represented less than 70% of overall annual giving.
Overall, these numbers are situated within a growing body of research, which suggests that while the total population of givers is contracting, the value of giving is rising at rates higher than inflation. Given the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands, this evidence reinforces the importance of retention and sustainable stewardship as tenets of any organization’s fundraising strategy.2
1 2019, Giving USA, Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018
2 2017, Blackbaud Institute, Vital Signs: Monitoring Giving Patterns in the Donor Marketplace
Median Donation Amounts
In 2019 the median donation amount for gifts above $1,000 was $2,500 and $20 for gifts below $1,000.3 Additionally, the average online donation amount was $148. Combined with these figures, you can better target the right donors—those with capacity and a propensity to give to your cause—just by knowing more about their spending habits. Metrics like median donation amount, coupled with donation history, online giving performance, and more can help create a more composite picture of your supporters.
According to the Charitable Giving Report, in 2019 27% of all first-year, offline only donors were retained. For multi-year donors, 57% of offline-only donors were retained. As giving and engagement channels continue to proliferate, donors and fundraisers alike have a harder job staying connected, and fundraisers struggle to measure the real impact of various efforts. These figures reassert the need to meet your supporters where they are as they continually occupy the driver’s seat of constituent engagement.
Donor retention reflects how you keep in contact with your donors and build a pathway for their continued support. It is a direct, quantifiable reflection of how you are engaging your donors and communicating your mission and your online presence can amplify these aims. According to the Charitable Giving Report 24% of first-year, online-only donors were retained in 2019, compared to 63% of multiyear, online-only donors. This underscores the significant benefits organizations can welcome by prioritizing stewardship and online optimization as components in their retention strategy.