Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report

New Snapshot Shows Challenges

Blackbaud recently published its 2016 Charitable Giving Report which it positions as “a year-in-review based on the largest analysis of overall and online giving data anywhere in the nonprofit sector.” This is the fifth year the report has been published.

Some quick highlights:

  • Overall giving increased 1% for the 6,845 nonprofits in the analysis (although smaller organizations were flat)
  • Online giving increased 7.9% for the 5,210 nonprofits included
  • #GivingTuesday donations were up 22% this past year
  • Mobile accounted for 17% of online transactions and 22% of #GivingTuesday donations

The study’s authors note, “The U.S. nonprofit sector is entering a period where sustainable growth depends on embracing best practices in donor engagement, retention, and stewardship.”

(I question whether we’re just entering this period, but wholeheartedly agree with the importance of best practices!)

So, what's the challenge?

A 1% increase in giving doesn't even keep pace with the rate of inflation. As an industry, we have to do better at "donor engagement, retention, and stewardship."

Easier said than done, particularly in light of a couple of additional metrics.

The report's Generational Giving Trends show that 43% of the population is responsible for 78.8% of the giving. The 50+ crowd. Even as organizations race to engage and involve the remaining 57% of the population, they must also continue to maintain their current base of supporters. 


Current retention rates would indicate we're not doing a very good job maintaining that base. Retention among first-time donors is particularly stark: one in five for online only donors and one in three for offline only. To make matters worse, last year’s 2016 Luminate Online Benchmark showed a slight decline (-1.3%) in first-time donors.

If that pool is shrinking, we certainly can't afford to lose so many of them! What are you doing to secure your base?