Exploring the 2023 Giving USA Report: Navigating a Changing Philanthropic Landscape

Erika Moczulewski
July 13, 2023

The 2023 Giving USA Report never ceases to shed light on the innumerable opportunities in philanthropy. While we heard a lot of doom and gloom because giving is down, a deeper dive into the data shows the tremendous amount of generosity that still exists in our country.

Let's review the takeaways and suggested strategies for nonprofits to thrive in this evolving (pun intended!) landscape.

Key Takeaway–Individual Giving

Individual giving remains the largest source of contributions (64%). 

What Does This Mean for You: Focus on building authentic relationships with donors and embrace digital tools to engage the next generation of online donors who value social media and convenience. This should remain the top priority for fundraisers! 

What else can we do to support or Individual Giving work to capitalize on the opportunity? 

  1. Engage the next generation and broaden your donor base: Engaging the next generation and diverse donors beyond your current donor base will help you expand your fundraising program. Online giving now accounts for 10% of all giving. Younger donors prefer online giving and use social media tools to make contributions. Additionally, next gen donors seek to give back by leveraging their voice, network, and social media platforms to raise awareness in addition to giving their money. So be sure to have a plan to engage them in more ways than one. 
  1. Identify new tools for engagement: Leveraging digital tools to maximize online engagement is a must. ChatGPT is becoming a hit with fundraisers, but it’s important to understand the limitations of new tools in addition to their value-add. Relationships are still critical and too much tech can be impersonal.
  1. Effective communication is key: Tell the story of your impact! What’s your organization’s story? How is your organization’s impact making a difference in the community and/or areas you serve? Statistics are great and measurable results are essential, but sharing your story helps the numbers become more powerful. Effective communication, storytelling, and demonstrating impact nurture authentic donor relationships 

Our POSITIVE conclusion: Continue to EVOLVE by fostering strong authentic donor relationships, retaining existing donors, and identifying new ways to find and attract new donors. Focused strategies to cultivate and build donor relationships are essential now more than ever before. Embrace technology and incorporate it into your plans, and remember, adaptation is key to making a positive impact in your community!

For those of you who are fundraising geeks like me and wish to review some other top highlights we captured from the data, I have included some additional takeaways below:

Rise of Mega Donors: While the donor count is down, dollars are still high and holding steady. Fewer donors are giving but mega donors are on the rise. $13.96 Billion came from six donors - that’s wild!  

Foundation Giving Gains: Foundations comprised 21% of overall giving. Connect with aligned foundations, showcase impact, and nurture partnerships for sustained funding.

Corporate Giving and Cause Marketing: Corporations emphasize social responsibility and cause marketing. Collaborate with companies that share your values and engage employees. These partnerships expand reach and fundraising potential.

Bequest Giving: Is still strong and should be a part of your individual giving plan. Integrate planned giving efforts to secure future support. 

Giving by Sector: Giving to religion has grown and is now at 27%; Human Services and Education remain the other top areas of philanthropic investment.

Taking the Economy into Account: Inflation reached 8% - the highest in 40 years. Economic trends always correlate with philanthropic trends.