In this CCS Fundraising webinar, we preview findings from the upcoming Philanthropy Outlook 2024-2025 report, researched and written by the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Together with our esteemed industry panelists in finance, nonprofit fundraising, and philanthropy, we explore the realities of today’s philanthropic and economic outlook and how Americans continue giving generously.

PRESENTED BY

Dr. Michael Lomax

Dr. Michael Lomax

Chief Executive Officer

United Negro College Fund
Chris Hyzy

Chris Hyzy

Chief Investment Officer

Bank of America
Jeff Erdmann

Jeff Erdmann

Managing Director and Private Wealth Advisor

Merrill Lynch
Dr. Anna Pruitt

Dr. Anna Pruitt

Managing Editor, Giving USA

IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Sarah Krasin

Sarah Krasin

Managing Director

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do growth projections in The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025 account for inflation?

Yes, growth projection values in the report are all in real or inflation-adjusted terms.

Does the Foundation growth projected in the report include Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) and private family foundations?

Giving from private family foundations is included under giving from foundations in The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025. DAF giving, however, is included under individual giving.

Does the report consider the upcoming US presidential election?

The report does not include the 2024 US presidential election as a factor in its projections, as presidential elections have historically not significantly affected charitable giving in aggregate. Learn more about trends in giving around presidential elections in CCS’s article “Charitable Giving During Presidential Elections.”

Does the report consider increasingly concentrated wealth in the US?

The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025 accounts for all giving, including outlier giving from high net-worth individuals, and focuses on aggregates, not averages. While we know that concentrated wealth greatly affects giving, exactly how is unclear.

Is an increase in donors the biggest factor in the projected growth in household giving, or are large gifts the biggest factor?

The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025 does not consider the number of donors and individual gift amounts and only projects aggregate growth rates. However, the number of donors to nonprofits has trended down over time, so it is unlikely to be a growth driver in 2024 and 2025 giving.

Does the report’s projected Household growth account for generational wealth transfers?

The model used to forecast estate growth in The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025 does not have a variable that directly measures the impact of generational wealth transfers. However, historical trends in the report will likely capture the impact of a Great Wealth Transfer when it occurs. If they cannot capture impact in the short term, the model (which the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy optimizes each year based on predictive value) may contain a death rate or similar variable in future report editions.

Does the report include household/individual projections by sector?

It does not. The aggregate amount of donations received by each nonprofit sector tends to be more variable year-over-year, affected by complex factors, and is more challenging to project accurately.

Does the report differentiate individual giving by donors who itemize and donors who don’t, or high-net-worth individuals?

The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025 does not differentiate between itemized and non-itemized individual giving. However, it bases its individual giving data on the 2023 Giving USA report, which does differentiate itemized and non-itemized individual giving. Additionally, The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025 report model does include the number of itemizers as a variable but does not project the amount of giving that will come from households of specific demographics or wealth levels.

Does the report’s projected corporate growth consider the negative impact of climate change?

The report only considers climate change’s negative impact implicitly through historical data and recent trends.

What are the current giving trends in the US?

CCS’s 2023 Philanthropic Landscape report compiles and analyzes the most recent data on giving from across industry sources. We recommend viewing it along with the CCS 2024 Philanthropy Pulse report for the latest data on nonprofit fundraising trends.

Is giving in the US down overall for 2022 and 2023?

Giving total adjustments are usually made based on inflation activity and the availability of additional giving data. While giving in 2022 has initially been reported to total $499.33 billion — a decline of $17.32 billion from 2021’s record-setting giving — comparing 2022’s initially-reported giving total to 2021’s pre-adjusted, initially-reported giving total of $484 billion suggests that charitable giving actually increased by 3%. Giving USA will share 2023’s total giving in the summer of 2024.

Why does the report project giving in 2025 to double giving in 2024?

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy finds that many economic indicators for estate giving lag a year behind. With consumer sentiment and net worth projected to grow even more in 2024 than in 2023, estate growth rates in 2025 will grow even more than in 2024.

Were any projections made for philanthropy in 2022 or 2023? If so, how accurate were the projections?

As The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025 report is the first of its kind, CCS Fundraising and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy did not make any projections for previous years. However, the methodology in the Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025 has been rigorously tested. Additionally, CCS will release a 2nd edition of the report in 2027.

Given the growth rate of foundations, what will be the top three areas of giving from foundations in 2024 and 2025?

While top areas of giving from foundations are not a component of The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025 report, the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy does not anticipate foundation grant-making to diverge too significantly in the short term compared to the recent past. Eventually, giving from foundations may shift more significantly, but probably not in the next two years.

Will nonprofits benefit from the Great Wealth Transfer if it occurs as the philanthropic sector anticipates?

It is unclear where money from the Boomers will go as they transfer it to the younger generations. Often, donors give large bequests to foundations or other grantmaking institutions, so nonprofits may not immediately benefit from the Great Wealth Transfer but will likely experience a future boon.

How do foundations determine their level of giving?

While each foundation is different, grantmaking from foundations generally follows the market (with a slight lag), as investments often form their asset base. Most foundations grant approximately the required 5% of assets annually, though the amount can be calculated over a three-year rolling investment performance period.

Will consumer prices be impacted by lowering inflation?

At the time of the Philanthropy and Economic Outlook webinar, consumer prices seem to be increasing roughly in pace with other inflation measurements. The consumer price index increased about 3.2% year over year in February 2024, which, while higher than the targeted rate of 2%, was within historical norms. If different inflation indices continue to show large divergences, we may need to revisit trends in consumer prices.

More Insights

Publication

The Philanthropy Outlook 2024 and 2025

March 13, 2024

Strengthen your fundraising strategy this year and next with this data-driven publication, revealing predictive insights for the philanthropic sector in the years ahead.

Article

Charitable Giving During Presidential Elections

February 23, 2024

As we approach the 2024 US presidential election, many nonprofit professionals wonder if and how politics will affect this year’s charitable giving landscape. Read on as we examine research that helps us understand the relationship between nonprofit fundraising and political giving.

Publication

CCS Philanthropy Pulse

February 15, 2024

The 2024 CCS Philanthropy Pulse report serves as a guide for fundraisers, offering insights into the modern strategies nonprofits employ for development and highlighting avenues for fundraising success.

CCS Fundraising logo

Explore this CCS on-demand video, presented in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, exploring key findings from their latest report, The Giving Environment!

Together, we examine the formal and informal channels through which communities of color practice generosity and discuss strategies for how nonprofit professionals can adapt their approach to reaching and retaining donors of diverse backgrounds.

PRESENTED BY

Woodrow “Woody” Keown Jr.

Woodrow “Woody” Keown Jr.

President and COO

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Lina Park

Lina Park

Chief Development Officer

Asian Health Services
Dr. Imari Paris Jeffries

Dr. Imari Paris Jeffries

Executive Director

Embrace Boston
Prisca Bae

Prisca Bae

Chief Partnerships Officer

The Asian American Foundation
Dr. Una Osili

Dr. Una Osili

Associate Dean for Research and International Programs; Dean’s Fellow, Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy

IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Ruyi Lu

Ruyi Lu

Senior Vice President

Measure affiliation with a Recency, Frequency, Monetary (RFM) score in seconds. In this webinar tutorial, CCS Fundraising Data Analytics Team members Jess and Jacob go through the step-by-step process of using a traditional RFM score to find prospects who have demonstrated a meaningful affinity. Learn how to overlay these scores with an RFM+ approach which beyond the standard philanthropic indicators to measure additional types of engagement and affinity, such as event attendance and membership data. You will discover how to use wealth screening results to identify prospects with a strong capacity that are giving to similar organizations. Senior Director of College Advancement Dr. Ashley Whaley demonstrates the impact that RFM scores and wealth screening had on Hagerstown Community College‘s fundraising campaign.

PRESENTED BY

Dr. Ashley Whaley

Dr. Ashley Whaley

Senior Director of College Advancement

Hagerstown Community College
Jacob Greenstine

Jacob Greenstine

Data Analyst

Jessica Roberts

Jessica Roberts

Vice President, Data Analytics

More Insights

Article

DEI in Advancement Services: Q&A With CCS’s Felecia McCree and Vered Siegel

February 9, 2024

Learn why and how DEI principles should be integrated in advancement services through our conversation with CCS Fundraising’s own Vered Siegel, Senior Director, and Felecia McCree, Senior Director, Systems.

Article

Revolutionizing Fundraising Part III: Guiding Questions for Nonprofit AI Implementation

October 16, 2023

As access to AI-driven software increases, our guiding questions for AI implementation will help your organization decide whether and how to use artificial intelligence.

In this webinar, CCS Fundraising dives deep into the four fundamental components of successful fundraising:

  1. The case for support
  2. Prospects
  3. Leadership, and…
  4. Plan

We explore US giving trends and what motivates donors as well as the common fundraising challenges nonprofit staff face today. Learn strategies and tactics to address those challenges, as well as insights from our experience partnering with more than 700 nonprofits annually.

PRESENTED BY

Sarah Krasin

Sarah Krasin

Managing Director

More Insights

Publication

CCS Philanthropy Pulse

February 15, 2024

The 2024 CCS Philanthropy Pulse report serves as a guide for fundraisers, offering insights into the modern strategies nonprofits employ for development and highlighting avenues for fundraising success.

Publication

2023 Philanthropic Landscape, 12th Edition

August 29th, 2023

Featuring essential philanthropic research from all major sources in the industry, this exclusive report examines key themes in American philanthropy and the latest data on giving by US individuals, foundations, and corporations.

Tune in to learn about The Case for Endowment during this year’s Summer in Session, CCS’s annual fundraising webinar for independent school professionals. In this video, you will:

  • See the latest trends in independent school philanthropy
  • Understand why it’s important to have an endowment
  • Learn how to make the case for an endowment at your school

PRESENTED BY

Bob Weston

Bob Weston

Senior Vice President

Aashika Patel

Aashika Patel

Managing Director

Effectively incorporating a strong planned giving program beginning with legacy gifts helps your nonprofit build strong donor relationships, increase immediate and future cash, and establish a foundation for sustainability. During this webinar, our fundraising consultant experts explain the elements of gift planning culture and planned giving strategies that will set your organization up for success.

PRESENTED BY

Hannah Yaritz

Hannah Yaritz

Senior Vice President

Jeremy Monty

Jeremy Monty

Senior Vice President

Christopher Dake

Christopher Dake

CCS Alum

Christianna Robertson

Christianna Robertson

Senior Vice President

M. Angel Flores

M. Angel Flores

Senior Vice President

Thomas Kissane

Thomas Kissane

Vice Chairman

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

On Getting Started in Gift Planning:

What are some best-practice solutions for organizations that are new to planned giving?

One first step is to send out a survey to your donors (volunteers, alumni, members, etc.) asking if they have included your nonprofit in their Will or Trust. This information can be used to help engage them further, thank them for their support, and learn more about why they made this commitment. A survey can also inform how your organization may allocate budget resources to this effort.

As noted by session participants, gift planning can be overwhelming.  We recommend taking this work in “bite-sized pieces.” One way to do this is to identify one project to focus on each week. The project should be manageable and easily accomplished within the dedicated time. Some examples might be:

  • Calling 10 donors to say “thank you.” 
  • Drafting your first gift planning survey.  
  • Determining how you might segment your donors based on their past giving and age.  
  • Watching this course for more ideas on how to start gift planning in 1-3 hours a week. 
  • If you have a major gift officer (or even if you are the only fundraiser!), add planned giving metrics to fundraising goals – this will help encourage collaboration, increase donor engagement activity, grow revenue, and support the hiring of additional staff. 
  • If you have dedicated volunteer leaders, form a peer committee that can help with developing a case for a planned giving program, marketing plan, and outreach strategy. 
  • The simplest action to take: ask for the gift. “DONOR, have you considered including ORGANIZATION in your Will?”
  • This short case study also describes how one organization partnered with CCS to launch its gift planning efforts.

Where can I find resources for integrating planned giving into the culture of my organization?

Education is a great tool for elevating planned giving within the culture of your organization. Sharing insights, datapoints, and impact stories related to planned giving with your organization’s decision makers and colleagues highlights the importance of this work. Consider demonstrating impact by documenting your first (or 100th!) bequest intention. Celebrate that documentation (and the future gift) with your team and leadership.

CCS’s Make the Case for (Greater!) Investment in Your Planned Giving Program video offers insights into instilling a gift planning culture into your organization and the role staff and volunteers alike play in gift planning.

ON STAFFING AND LEADERSHIP SUPPORT:

What role do volunteers play in gift planning?

Staff who have gift-planning-specific roles typically either manage their own portfolio of donors who serve as a partner to major gift officers in asset-based fundraising.

Volunteers are helpful to serve as an advocate for the mission of your organization and the specific program for which a donor may be asked to support. Volunteers are also great planned gift prospects – would one of your best volunteers serve as a “practice” donor for a planned gift ask?

CCS’s Make the Case for (Greater!) Investment in Your Planned Giving Program video offers insights into instilling a gift planning culture into your organization and the role staff and volunteers alike play in gift planning.

Who is usually best positioned to build relationships with potential major gift and legacy gift prospects?

The Executive Director and staff should take responsibility for developing and maintaining the long-term relationships with the donor. That said, we recommend utilizing any resources possible to begin the conversation, including board relationships.

Board members are often great prospects themselves – consider educating them on the various types of gifts the organization accepts, how these gifts may offer benefits of income or tax relief to them, invite them to join your legacy society if they commit a deferred gift or major gift of assets, and encourage them to share their story with other donors to inspire additional giving.

How do I get started with donor cultivation and stewardship?

When thinking about cultivation and stewardship, we encourage asking the donor what is important to them. Utilize their insights to tailor a plan that’s important to them. Some donors are going to want (and need) higher touch points, others will want minimal contact.

For more helpful tips on donor cultivation, check out this article on leveraging annual giving and this article on cultivating prospects into donors.

ON Gift Acceptance Policies & Gift Management:

What is a windfall policy?

A windfall policy guides an organization when they receive a large unrestricted gift that they were not expecting. Creating this policy includes determining a certain percentage of the gift to be allocated to specific areas of the organization such as general operating, endowment, or capital improvements for immediate-use and longer-term use.

What organizations provide resources for updating or drafting gift acceptance policies?

The following organizations are known for offering best practices and guidelines:

Should my organization count both revocable and irrevocable legacy gifts during a campaign?

CCS recommends following CGP’s guidelines which have counting categories for immediate use (cash) gifts and pledges, revocable deferred gifts, and irrevocable deferred gifts during a campaign. They even offer tables to get you started.

Before getting into the counting, your organization should carefully consider what its fundraising needs are and what dollar amount (fundraising goal) would support those needs. If your organization has a greater immediate need, the cash or irrevocable deferred gift goals may be higher than the revocable deferred gift goal since revocable gifts can change, and deferred gifts generally take some time before they are realized and received as cash by the organization.

By counting all gifts, your organization is demonstrating inclusivity of donors at all gift levels and types. This enhances your gift planning culture and will increase revenue overall.

Can a revocable deferred gift (legacy gift, bequest) only be recognized in our financial books when paid?

Revocable gifts can only be counted in your financial books once they are paid (or realized.) Irrevocable gifts should be counted in financials once all proper documentation is complete. CCS recommends working closely with your finance team or accountant to discuss gifts of assets and deferred commitments.

While some gifts may not be able to be “booked” by finance, it is important you’re your fundraising office carefully tracks and notates these gifts in your database. This will support donor stewardship and recognition even if the gift is not part of the formal accounting process… yet!

How do you recommend navigating database constituent records if the ‘primary’ donor/member/volunteer dies, but we want to maintain a relationship with the ‘secondary’ partner/family/spouse?

We recommend maintaining the record in your database until the family asks otherwise. If they do ask you to remove the deceased donor from your database or outreach, respect their decision and archive the record. Some families will want to continue engagement to honor their loved one, or because they too are committed to your mission.

If your database is used for multiple purposes by different teams, consider finding a way to “tag” a constituent record exclusively for fundraising or gift planning to avoid confusion.

ON Prospects & Conversations:

How likely are annual donors, who have committed a legacy gift, to give to a campaign?

Research from Dr. Russell James shows that after a donor makes a legacy commitment, their annual giving increases by 75%, on average. Those same donors are also 17% more likely to give a major gift within two years after making their legacy commitment.

When asking for campaign gifts, we encourage blended gift requests to support immediate needs (cash, appreciated assets) and deferred gifts (bequest intention) to support the longer-term future.

What is the best age to begin planned gift conversations with donors?

Giving USA’s Leaving A Legacy report indicated that people first establish a Will in their mid-40s and include a charity in their Will for the first time in their early 50s. We recommend connecting with donors in their late 30s/early 40s with some of those initial conversations. For example, some colleges and universities are engaging their alumni in these age groups to ask for a very modest percentage (5% or less) of their estate be gifted to the school. That 5% may not be much today but by the time the gift is realized, it is likely to be considerably more.

What is the best way to ask someone for their birth date?

Organizations use a number of tactics to open the door for this question. For example:

  • Database updates – “I’m doing an update of our donor records. Would it be okay if I asked you for some updated information?”
  • Stewardship effort – “I’d like to start sending birthday cards to the donors I work with; would you be willing to share your birth date with me?”

Wealth screens may also pull birth date information if your organization utilizes this type of tool. White Pages is also a great tool for this information.

Keep in mind that this is personal information, and some donors may not be willing to share and for others it may not be appropriate to ask.

ON Deferred Gifts – Bequest & Legacy Gifts:

When are most wills and trusts updated?

Wills and Trusts are often updated closer to the death of the owner. Other data also indicates that when a charity is added in the earlier versions of the Will/Trust they will continue to stay within the documentation, especially if the organization does a great job with stewardship.

Should my organization accept gifts of real estate?

In general, real estate can be a great asset to accept as a philanthropic gift. Your gift acceptance policies and procedures should offer guidance as to what considerations your organization would take prior to accepting this asset. If real estate is not included in your policies currently, meet with your team, board, or other strategic partners to determine whether accepting real estate as gifts is right for your organization.

What is a blended gift proposal and are organizations using them?

Blended gift proposals are a tool used to ask a donor for one or multiple gifts in support of one or multiple needs within the organization. For gift planning, this usually means asking for a gift to support an immediate need (cash or asset today) and a longer-term initiative (gift for the future).

In the last healthcare campaign with which CCS Gift Planning Practice Group leader Christianna Luy assisted, the development team almost never asked for a multi-year campaign commitment unless it had a blended component. They wanted the organization to be stronger through the campaign, not just because of the campaign. Start easy by asking for cash and a bequest. For individuals with lots of stock, CCS encourages reading about a “charitable swap”—a powerful tool where the donor gifts the stock, saves capital gains taxes, and purchases the stock with the cash they would have gifted you.

How do I know if my nonprofit is ready to start a gift annuity program?

The American Council on Gift Annuities provides great insight on considerations for organizations who are interested in getting started with a gift annuity program.

Not all nonprofits can or should issue charitable gift annuities (CGAs) themselves. These gifts are guaranteed lifetime payments, and the organization must be willing to take on the responsibility and risk while being financially resilient enough to do so.

While establishing and managing a CGA program may not be a priority for a nonprofit based on experience and capacity, there are third-party vendors that can support these efforts, easing the burden on the nonprofit.

ON DONOR RECOGNITION:

How long do organizations typically keep deceased legacy donors on their recognition lists?

Recognition lists are a great stewardship tool, help with donor management, and are a simple way to express gratitude. Recognition lists (as the “physical item”) vary. From a practical standpoint, consider cost when listing donors. If you are updating a physical donor wall every two years, you may consider having fewer names on the recognition list. However, if your recognition list is largely digital like an annual report, keep more names on the list.

It is most important that the donor has given you permission to include their name, or that they have indicated another way they would like to be recognized. Organizations will often note deceased donors with a symbol (such as: + or *) after their name. Other organizations will remove names but include a sentence along the lines of: “A special thanks to the 27 donors who have impacted ORGANIZATION since their passing.”

If you receive a gift from a donor who has passed and hasn’t indicated if they would like to be recognized, connect with their family, the estate executor, or any other personal contact you may be aware of to determine what would be most appropriate. If you are unable to access those close to the donor, follow practices aligned with other donors who have passed.

What are the best practices for including expected but not documented legacy gifts on a donor listing?

It is important to document expected gifts. In fact, recognition in an annual report could encourage some donors to document their legacy gift. Documentation helps the organization plan for its future, and it helps you steward the donor in the ways that are important to them.

CCS Fundraising logo

Join the conversation! Use #CCSGivingUSA.

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Una Osili, who leads the research and production of Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, a publication of the Giving USA Foundation, reveals new data from the 2023 report. Our esteemed panelists then discuss the significance and implications of 2022’s trends.

PRESENTED BY

Mike Neal

Mike Neal

Chief of Organizational Advancement

American Cancer Society, Inc.
Jennifer Barrymore

Jennifer Barrymore

Vice President of Advancement Resources

Northeastern University
V. Renée Cutting

V. Renée Cutting

Chief Philanthropy Officer

UNICEF USA
Dr. Anna Pruitt

Dr. Anna Pruitt

Managing Editor, Giving USA

IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Sarah Sochacki

Sarah Sochacki

Managing Director

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

On Trends:

Does the increase in giving to foundations indicate that more donors are making gifts through Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs)?

Giving USA nets out contributions to and grants from DAFs for community foundations to reduce double counting. Other factors, such as the rapid growth in the number of foundations and the value of the assets held by foundations over time, help to explain the growth in giving by foundations.

Giving to foundations has had an above-average number of mega-gifts in recent years, which makes the series a bit less obviously tied to year-to-year economic trends. We’ll see if this is an anomaly or a new trend as we move forward.

If corporations have stepped up in the last few years, why was the percentage of Corporate Giving as a share of total giving only 1% higher in 2022 than it was 40 years ago? Are corporations giving through foundation vehicles—meaning their funding is not counted in the Corporate category?

Giving from corporate foundations is included in the giving by foundations estimate. Though corporations are not growing as a share of total giving, they are still growing over time. In the last 5 years, giving by corporations had an annualized average growth rate of 10.6%, far outpacing the growth in total giving over the same period (3.3%).

Is there any data to demonstrate that a decrease in individual giving may be a response to mega giving?

What evidence we have points to this not mattering as much; a recent report, What America Thinks About Philanthropy, asked non-donors about their motivations to not give, and only 3% said it was because they felt their gift did not matter relative to the larger gifts made by the wealthy.

What contributed to the large negative percent change in giving to public society benefit organizations in 2022?

Generally, Giving USA has seen strong linkages between stock market growth and growth in giving to the public-society benefit subsector. The decline in 2022 suggests that the subsector may also be sensitive to declines in the market.

Does Giving USA have any data to support the idea that—given the acute crises of 2020-2021—some philanthropists front-loaded their giving and so had less philanthropic funds to draw from in 2022?

There is limited data about donor fatigue and the effect of ongoing crises on charitable giving behaviors. More information is needed before we can understand whether and how individual giving patterns changed in response to the events ushered in by the pandemic.

How does GoFundMe factor into giving numbers for 2022? Could it help explain the decrease in individual giving?

When GoFundMe campaigns go to a nonprofit organization, Giving USA is capturing those donations. For instance, many of the largest GoFundMe campaigns in response to the Highland Park shooting went to VictimsFirst, a nonprofit that specializes in distributing funds to victims of shootings and their families. Their estimate would capture that data. Gifts that go directly to individuals are not included in their estimate.

Are mega-donors giving in any unique ways? How do they compare in their involvement?

MacKenzie Scott continues to give smaller gifts to hundreds of organizations year over year, which is generally acknowledged to be an unconventional approach. However, Giving USA does not compare the giving of mega-donors. The Giving Pledge, the movement in which philanthropists make a public commitment to giving the majority of one’s wealth to charitable causes, includes letters from signees explaining their decision to sign the pledge. Other measures of giving from mega-donors are available, including the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Philanthropy 50 list and the Forbes 400 Philanthropy Score.

Has Giving USA noted a correlation between volunteering and philanthropy? How many donors are volunteering?

In general, research has shown a relationship between volunteering and charitable giving. However, Giving USA does not measure volunteering activity. More information on volunteering trends can be found at the Generosity for Life project.

How are nonprofits using AI and how do you think that will change in the future?

Many nonprofits are exploring new tools like AI to address the ongoing decrease in the number of donors. CCS Fundraising’s Revolutionizing Fundraising series explores real-time examples of this work and how you can apply AI techniques to your fundraising plan and outcomes.

On Methodology and Definitions:

How does Giving USA collect data?

Giving USA estimates primarily rely on econometric methods developed by leading researchers in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector and are reviewed and approved by members of the Giving USA External Review Panel. Members of the External Review Panel include research directors from national nonprofit organizations, as well as scholars from such disciplines as economics and public affairs, all of whom are involved in studying philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy prepares all of the estimates in Giving USA for Giving USA Foundation. Giving USA develops estimates for giving by each type of donor (sources) and for recipient organizations categorized by subsectors (uses). Most of Giving USA’s annual estimates are based on econometric analyses and tabulations of tax data, economic indicators and demographics. Data for giving by foundations come from Candid.

Following the same approach used by leading public and private institutions that develop economic statistics, Giving USA researchers update data found within Giving USA each year. This is because current Giving USA estimates are developed before final tax data, some economic indicators, and some demographic data are available. The estimates are revised and updated as final versions of these data become available. Final estimates are usually developed two or three years after their initial release.

For more specific details on Giving USA’s methodology, please refer to the “Brief summary of methods” section within Giving USA 2023 or contact the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at adrldavi@iupui.edu

Is the 2021 giving total of $516.65 a re-estimated number and, if so, by how much?

Giving USA revises the giving estimate as additional data comes in each year, similar to the way that other economic series like GDP are revised. According to their revised estimate, total giving reached $516.65 billion in current dollars in 2021. In the case of 2021, there were three separate upward revisions, all unrelated, to individual, corporate, and foundation giving that contributed to the large upward revision overall. Giving USA typically revises numbers for at least two years. From 2011-2020 (the most recent ten years of virtually final data) the average revision was 0.83% and median was 0.31%.

How does Giving USA define Mega-gifts?

Giving USA defines mega-gifts as being greater than 0.1% of total giving each year, rounded to the nearest $50M. So, this year, mega-gifts were gifts of $500M or more.

Are Donor-advised funds (DAFs) counted under Foundation or Individual giving?

On the sources side, contributions to donor-advised funds are counted in whichever category the DAF contribution is made—most commonly, this would be in “by individuals” when an individual gives to a DAF and deducts the initial donation.

On the uses side, DAFs are counted wherever the organization that hosts the donor-advised fund is counted. For example, a donor-advised fund held within a community foundation will be counted with community foundations in the giving to foundations subsector. Freestanding donor-advised funds, such as Fidelity Charitable, for example, are counted in the Public-Society Benefit subsector on the uses side.

For all types of donor-advised funds, including DAFs held at community foundations, Giving USA takes the net of incoming contributions and outgoing grants when tabulating giving to the recipient subsectors, as donor-advised funds function as a pass-through. This approach helps to reduce the double-counting of contributions to these funds and recipient organizations.

Is giving by family foundations included in the Foundations estimate?

Yes, the giving by foundations estimate includes giving by family foundations. The growth in the use of family foundations as a giving vehicle may have been a factor in changing the shares of total giving comprised of individual giving and foundation giving in the last few decades—more research on this topic is needed.

Is giving by corporate foundations counted in Corporations or Foundations?

Corporate foundations are counted under giving by corporations.

Is individual giving (tithing) to churches included in the estimate for giving to religion?

Yes—Giving USA’s religion estimate includes giving to congregations.

Under what subsector does Giving USA count giving circles?

It depends on the fiscal sponsor for the giving circles. Many giving circles are hosted by foundations, and the grants made from those giving circles would be counted under giving by foundations.

How does Giving USA differentiate the Public-Society Benefit subsector from the Human Services subsector?

The Public-society benefit subsector includes a wide range of organizations, including national donor-advised funds (DAFs) such as Fidelity Charitable, pass-through organizations such as the United Way, Jewish federations, rights and legal advocacy funds, and community/economic development groups such as Community Development Financial Institutions (or CDFIs).

Human services organizations include those related to food and nutrition; housing and shelter; employment services and vocational training; youth services; public safety and community disaster relief; legal services; recreation and sports; family and children’s services; emergency assistance; and independent living and self-sufficiency for a wide range of populations. 

In general, Giving USA uses the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) codes to categorize nonprofits.

Does Giving USA count giving to faith-based human services, education, and healthcare organizations under their functional categories, or is it all counted under Religion?

Giving USA’s tabulation of giving to the religion subsector is very focused: it includes giving to support religious congregations and houses of worship; the organizing or national offices of denominations and faith groups; missionary societies; religious media (including print and broadcast); and organizations formed for religious worship, fellowship, or evangelism. 

Contributions to faith-based organizations offering healthcare, education, or social services, as well as those working internationally, are not included in Giving USA’s estimate for giving to religion. Rather, they are categorized within the other subsectors according to purpose.

How does Giving USA define the International Affairs subsector?

Giving USA’s estimate of giving to the international affairs subsector includes giving to organizations working in international aid, development, or relief; those that promote international understanding; and organizations working on international peace and security issues. This subsector also includes research institutes devoted to foreign policy and analysis and organizations working in international human rights. Giving USA’s estimates include donations of cash, securities, and in-kind gifts, such as food, medicine, equipment, and other items of value.

Are US government grants included in Giving USA’s estimates?

Government grants are not included in Giving USA’s estimates.

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CCS Philanthropy Pulse

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The 2024 CCS Philanthropy Pulse report serves as a guide for fundraisers, offering insights into the modern strategies nonprofits employ for development and highlighting avenues for fundraising success.

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Planned Giving in 1-3 Hours a Week

March 9, 2023

This video, presented by CCS Fundraising’s Gift Planning Practice Group, will help you learn how you can make significant advances with planned giving — in just 1-3 hours a week!

Planned giving is an invaluable tool for growing your annual and major giving programs, but have you avoided implementing it because you doubt you have the time or the resources to do it well?

CCS experts Anne Thomas and Christopher Dake help remove the fear and uncertainty of engaging in planned giving, provide best practices for what you can do with limited time and resources, and share tips on how to determine your real planned giving potential, including:

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  • How a growing planned giving program can help you meet your short and longer-term revenue goals
  • Initial steps to set your organization on a path to short- and long-term financial growth

PRESENTED BY

Anne Thomas

Anne Thomas

CCS Alumna

Christopher Dake

Christopher Dake

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Proposals That Stand Out: Adding Financial Illustrations to Blended Gift Requests

April 25, 2024 | 1PM ET / 10AM PT

Seeking gift strategies and tips for building effective proposals? Join CCS Fundraising’s upcoming webinar!

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Your Fundraising Forecast Template for 2024

March 28, 2024

Projecting fundraising revenue can always feel daunting, especially during economic and political uncertainty. CCS Fundraising is here to help you plan for 2024 and beyond with tactical guidance and a downloadable fundraising revenue forecast template.

In the ever-changing charitable landscape, it can feel challenging to make strategic decisions that favorably impact your nonprofit’s mission. In this informative and interactive webinar, CCS Fundraising’s Greg Hagin, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Katherina Rosqueta, reveal the key insights you need to inform your fundraising strategy for the new year.

Covered topics include:

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Katherina (Kat) Rosqueta

Katherina (Kat) Rosqueta

Founding Executive Director

Center for High Impact Philanthropy
Greg Hagin

Greg Hagin

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Your Fundraising Forecast Template for 2024

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Projecting fundraising revenue can always feel daunting, especially during economic and political uncertainty. CCS Fundraising is here to help you plan for 2024 and beyond with tactical guidance and a downloadable fundraising revenue forecast template.

Planned giving fundraisers across all sectors and organizations of all sizes have one common challenge: increasing investment in their organization’s planned giving program.

We know that the wealth transfer in the U.S. is gaining momentum. We also know that gifts of noncash assets are THE driver of sustainable revenue growth and powerful donor cultivation tech tools can boost traditional fundraising methods. Yet, we often hear from our nonprofit partners that they can’t invest in planned giving, “right now.”

But, if not now, when?

Explore the recording and slides of this CCS webinar to learn:

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Gift Planning at Religious Institutions: What You Need to Know

October 3, 2022

Learn how to create a gift planning culture to help your house of worship raise more funds and expand the reach of your faith.

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Hidden Opportunities in Retirement Assets: Insights for Frontline Fundraisers

May 2, 2022

CCS’s Gift Planning Practice Group discusses the charitable giving potential from retirement assets and how nonprofits can promote giving from retirement and other noncash assets.