A Strong Year in Philanthropy Can Guide Our Predictions For This Year

By susanlienau | June 22, 2020 | Uncategorized
A strong year in philanthropy can guide our predictions for this year.

Juneteenth 2020

This week Giving USA, an annual publication of The Giving Institute that tracks philanthropy in the United States, released its annual report. The 2020 report showed total philanthropy in the United States was $449.64 billion, an increase of 4.2% from 2018. It was the second-highest total ever recorded, when adjusted for inflation, trailing only the record-setting year of 2017.

Sources of support, including support from individuals, corporations and foundations, were up, with only bequests not showing an increase. In fact, giving by individuals has grown in four of the last five years, and giving from bequests was flat in 2019

Uses were up across the board, with public society benefit, arts and culture, education and the environment leading the way with double-digit growth.

This graph displays philanthropy across multiple sectors in 2019.

Of course, these numbers reflect behavior from last year, before COVID-19 killed more than 115,000 Americans, immobilized the country, and put an estimated 40,000,000 people out of work. And these figures pre-date a reckoning the country is facing with regard to centuries of marginalizing its Black and Brown citizens.

As the country emerges from COVID-19 and its economic impact, and as the nation begins to address the disparities in education, housing, healthcare, and job opportunities that exist in underserved and under resourced communities of color, not-for-profits will play a key role in the recovery and healing of the nation.

We believe that philanthropy will remain strong this year. A consistent pattern that has formed since 1978, when these numbers were first tracked: philanthropy represents about 2% of GDP each year. That was true in 2019, when a $21.43 trillion economy generated $449.64 billion in philanthropy. We believe that will be true this year as well, with a shrinking economy creating a GDP of $20.19 trillion (a nearly 6% decline) and total philanthropy estimated to reach more than $403 billion.

That’s still a lot of money. Successful organizations will recognize that this will be a more competitive environment, requiring more resources, more time and an assertive stance to raise the needed funds!

For more of our thoughts on engaging supporters during COVID-19, please click here.

Averill Fundraising Solutions stands with you through these challenging times, and is available to talk with you about the thoughts outlined in this memo, YOUR thoughts, and all your advancement needs. Email us at info@averillsolutions.com or call us at 888-321-1810.

From the desk of: 

Robert C. Happy, Jr. – President, Averill Fundraising Solutions

Bob Happy has more than 35 years of experience providing expert leadership and direction to clients across the not-for-profit sector. During his career, Bob has served more than 2,000 clients and has guided them to raise more than $3,500,000,000.

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