The Blackbaud Institute Index

We’re excited to announce the next evolution of the Index! We’re expanding our focus to deliver even more insights, perspectives, and deeper dives while remaining the most accessible resource for giving statistics.

To provide greater understanding of long-term trends, we’ll report overall giving on a quarterly basis. Expert context behind the long-term trends will provide the perspective you need to leverage this data in your work.

Tracking more than $36 billion from over 8,200 organizations in U.S.-based charitable giving, the Blackbaud Institute Index is updated each quarter and reports year-over-year percent changes as well as giving to date for the last 12 months. Featuring overall giving trends, the Index can be viewed by organization size and sector.

2019 Quarterly Overall Charitable Giving

  • Q4 2019 vs Q4 2018 4.4%
  • Past 12-Months 1.0%*

A look at year over year changes shows an overall increase of 1.0% for Q4. While this provides a glimpse into recent months, we must look at this data from a multi-year perspective to understand the full scope of giving trends. By reviewing your performance across multiple years, you can pinpoint shifts due to campaigns, events, seasonality, and more. All this data arms you with a greater understanding of the factors affecting your performance and how you can compare your metrics to this benchmark.

*Last 12 months ending in December 2019

2019 Quarterly Overall Giving Trends by Organization Size

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 4.7%
Last 12 Months 2.2%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. Small nonprofits, with annual total fundraising less than $1 million, experienced a 2.2% increase in overall fundraising and a 8.3% increase in online fundraising. Additionally, in 2019 small nonprofits continued to set the mark with 14.1% of total fundraising coming from online giving, the highest among all organization sizes1.

 

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 4.5%
Last 12 Months 3.2%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. Medium-sized organizations, with annual total fundraising between $1 million and $10 million, had an increase of 3.2% in overall fundraising and a 7.1% increase in online fundraising. Additionally, in 2019 medium-sized organizations received 7.7% of their total fundraising from online giving1.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 4.2%
Last 12 Months -0.7%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. Large nonprofits, with annual total fundraising more than $10 million, experienced a 0.7% decrease in overall fundraising and a 4.9% increase in online fundraising. Additionally, in 2019 large organizations received 4.0% of their total fundraising from online giving1.

2019 Quarterly Overall Giving Trends by Subsector

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 7.8%
Last 12 Months 11.6%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis.  In 2019 the Animal Welfare subsector experienced a 11.6% increase in giving and a 10.1% increase in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. The average donation amount for Animal Welfare organizations was $273; the average online donation was $60. Animal Welfare organizations received 10.3% of total fundraising from online giving in 2019, positioning them among the leaders within this trend1.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 -9.5%
Last 12 Months -9.4%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. The Arts and Culture subsector had an overall 9.4% decrease in giving and an 8.1% increase in year-over-year online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. The average donation for Arts and Culture organizations was $334; the average online donation was $75. Arts and Culture organizations received 10.6% of total fundraising from online giving in 2019, positioning them among the leaders within this trend1.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 10.1%
Last 12 Months 9.2%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis.  The Environment subsector experienced a 9.2% increase in overall giving and 10.4 increase in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. The Environment subsector received an average donation amount of $307; the online donation average was $96. Environment organizations received 6.4% of total fundraising from online giving in 20191.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 4.1%
Last 12 Months 2.0%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. Faith Communities experienced a 2.0% increase in giving and a 8.0% increase in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. The average donation amount to Faith Communities was $319; the average online donation amount was $211. Additionally, in 2019 Faith Communities received 10% of total fundraising from online giving, positioning them among the leaders within this trend1.

 

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 2.8%
Last 12 Months -0.3%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. The Foundations subsector experienced a 2.8% increase.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 1.3%
Last 12 Months 0.6%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. The Healthcare subsector experienced modest growth with a 0.6% increase in overall giving and a 7.1% increase in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. Healthcare organizations received an average donation amount of $417; the online average donation amount was $336.  Healthcare organization received 5.6% of total fundraising from online giving in 20191.

 

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 3.3%
Last 12 Months 1.7%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. The Higher Education subsector experienced a 1.7% increase in overall giving and a 7.0% increase in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. The average donation amount to Higher Education institutions was $1,449; the online giving average was $287. Higher Education institutions received 5.6% of total fundraising from online giving in 2019.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 1.9%
Last 12 Months 2.0%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. The Human Services subsector experienced a 6.7% increase in overall giving and 5.1% increase in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. Human Services organizations received an average gift amount of $570; online average donation amount was $190.  Human Services organizations also received 7.2% of all fundraising from online giving in 2019.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 -5.2%
Last 12 Months -11.5%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. The International Affairs subsector experienced a 11.5% decrease in overall giving and an 4.0% increase in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. International Affairs organizations received an average donation amount of $404; the average online donation amount was $84. International Affairs organizations also received 7.4% of total fundraising from online giving in 2019.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 2.8%
Last 12 Months 1.2%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. The K-12 Education subsector experienced a 1.2% increase in overall giving and a 2.2% increase in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. K-12 institutions received an average donation amount of $967; the online average donation amount was $1,503. Additionally, K-12 institutions received 10.7% of total fundraising from online giving in 2019, positioning them among the leaders within this trend1.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 -0.7%
Last 12 Months 1.7%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. The Medical Research subsector experienced a 1.7% increase in overall giving and a 0.3% decrease in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. The average donation amount for Medical research organizations was $729; the average online donation amount was $95. Medical Research organizations also received 7.7% of total fundraising from online giving in 20191.

Q4 2019 v Q4 2018 6.6%
Last 12 Months 3.8%

In 2019, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. The Public and Society Benefit sector experienced a 3.8% increase in overall giving and a 5.2% increase in online giving. For the first time in 2019, the Charitable Giving Report shared the average donation amount by subsector. The average donation amount for Public Society and Benefit organizations was $236; the online donation amount was $264. Public and Society Benefit organizations also received 5.7% of total fundraising from online giving in 20191.

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

The Blackbaud Institute Index provides nonprofit organizations the timely and precise information they need to help make better decisions. The Index provides both a broad-based view of what is happening across the nonprofit sector and in-depth analysis for different types of organizations. We are leveraging data intelligence to help the entire social good sector better understand key trends and insights.

While the numbers shown are updated quarterly, we must look at this data from a multi-year perspective to understand the full scope of giving trends. Since 2017, overall giving has grown by 5% and online giving increased nearly 10% in the United States.

As for online giving, it continues to be a growth engine for fundraising in the nonprofit sector and there is likely a symbiotic relationship between online and offline. In 2019, online giving grew 6.8% year-over-year and 8.7% of total fundraising came from online giving. This is on track with larger online trends, including e-commerce sales. Donor behavior is keeping pace with consumer behavior. To this point, with the proliferation of mobile phones, mobile is now the new normal. In 2019, an estimated 26% of online transactions were made using mobile devices1. With that said, the focus should be on delivering multichannel giving experiences for donors instead of online and offline working in silos.

Economic conditions, natural disasters, and market fluctuations have made it extremely difficult for nonprofits to make fundraising decisions informed by the latest donor behavior. That is why we created The Blackbaud Index — to provide insight into what happened in the prior quarter and valuable analysis by leaders in the sector into what fundraisers can learn from it.

– Chuck Longfield, Founder of Blackbaud Index and Blackbaud Institute Senior Advisor

How We Create the Index

Each quarter, we draw actual giving statistics from the databases of thousands of U.S.-based participating organizations using a variety of fundraising systems to determine how much revenue was raised. We include giving from all sources of fundraising activities: direct mail, telemarketing, face-to-face fundraising, email, online, mobile giving, small- and large-scale events, and major and deferred giving.

We do not include the unfulfilled portion of pledge gifts, but we do include the donated value of in-kind and stock gifts. We include giving from individuals, corporations, and foundations but do not include giving by individuals or corporations to private and community foundations or other intermediaries. To include these gifts would double count the revenue when those organizations subsequently make grants to other nonprofits. We do not currently exclude the value of goods and services provided in exchange for gifts (e.g., the cost of premiums) but hope to in the future. And lastly, we do include adjustments made to gifts (e.g., bounced checks and refunds) to provide a more accurate accounting of real revenues. As a result, you may find that indices values change slightly, as we obtain newly-adjusted data from each organization.

Each organization in The Blackbaud Institute Index is categorized by 1 of 11 subsectors using its National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities—or NTEE code—as reported on its 990 tax return. 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. The Index also includes giving to Foundations, but this data is currently not used to calculate giving trends to avoid the potential of double-counting revenue.

We report the Index as a three-month moving median of year-over-year percent changes in giving. We add up all giving for the prior three months and compare this total to the same three months one year earlier to calculate the annual percent change for each organization in our Index.

Why do this?

Many organizations have big campaigns (events or mailings) that occur at roughly the same time each year. However, if an event was in late April one year but early May the next, the change in monthly giving might be significant while the change in giving over a three-month period might be the same. An Index based on a moving median is less sensitive to these small timing issues and will serve as a more practical decision-making tool. However, one downside of a moving median is that it can dampen large fluctuations caused, for example, by disaster relief giving.

We also adjust the indices to be representative of the nonprofit industry, by size of organization and by industry sector. There are nearly 2 million nonprofits in the country, and we didn’t want the indices to be skewed by organizations or sectors where Blackbaud had greater representation. Using 990 data, we determined the relative representation of giving by size and sector and adjusted our results accordingly. As such, the resulting indices will be more representative of both specific sectors and the industry

For more information

Quarterly updates: To receive quarterly updates on the Index straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Source newsletter.
Questions: Contact us at info@blackbaudinstitute.com.
Press: For press and media inquiries, contact: media@blackbaud.com

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12019 Blackbaud Institute Charitable Giving Report

Benchmarking: The Insight Track to Success

Listen to your data to transform your organization’s strategy. The Blackbaud Institute Index and Charitable Giving Report keep you aware of the trends, and now this guide offers practical strategies for using these resources to introduce benchmarking across your organization. Click here to download the free guide, no email required!