A widely-held perception is that corporations and foundations are the biggest sources to tap for grants and donations. The reality is that four out of five or 80 percent of philanthropic dollars are contributed by individuals and bequests. That rises to 88 percent if you include family foundation giving. Corporations and foundations are easier to target. Their contribution of 5 percent and 14 percent respectively was 19 percent of the total philanthropic dollars in 2011. Individuals are more of a challenge to reach and solicit, but are by far the largest philanthropic resource. Fundraising strategies for parks need to consider all sources and how best to connect park needs with all potential donor sources and their motivations for giving.
According to Giving USA, a report compiled annually by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel, figures on American philanthropy in 2011 showed that:
- Americans gave more than $298.42 billion in 2011 to their favorite causes despite the economic conditions. Total giving was up 4 percent from $286.91 in 2010. This slight increase is reflective of recovering economic confidence.
- The greatest portion of charitable giving, $217.79 billion, was given by individuals or household donors. Gifts from individuals represented 73 percent of all contributed dollars, similar to figures for 2010.
- Charitable bequests, which are made by individuals, totaled $24.41 billion or 8 percent of total giving. Charitable bequests rose an estimated 12.2 percent. The sum of gifts by individuals and charitable bequests is $242.2 billion or 81 percent of total giving.
- Foundations gave $41.67 billion, accounting for 14 percent of all philanthropy in the USA.
- Individual, bequest and estimated family foundation giving combined were approximately $262.61 billion or 88 percent of total giving.
- Corporate giving, which is tied to corporate profits, held steady in 2011 compared with 2010, totaling $14.55 billion (a 0.1 percent decline in current dollars). Corporate giving accounted for 5 percent of all charitable giving. (Corporations do invest additional advertising dollars in cause-related marketing as a business expense.)
- Giving by foundations increased 1.8 percent to an estimated $41.67 billion in 2011. However adjusted for inflation, giving by foundations declined 1.3 percent in 2011.
1) All figures are rounded.
2) Foundations are defined by the Foundation Center as independent foundations, corporate foundations, community foundations and operating foundations. For more information see http://foundationcenter.org/geststarted/learnabout/foundations.html
3) Unallocated sub sector includes “gifts to newly formed organizations; individual and corporate deductions expected to be claimed in 2007 for gifts made in prior years; amounts that donors deduct at a value different from what the non-profit reports as revenue; gifts and grants to government entities claimed by donors but not reported as received at 501(c)(3) charity; and foundation grants to organizations located in another country.” Giving USA 2007
4) Public-Society Benefit sub sector includes “contributions to nonprofit organizations collecting funds for distribution to a number of other agencies. These organizations include United Ways; Jewish federations and appeals; commercially sponsored donor-advised funds; and combined funds; such as the Combined Federal Campaign, America’s Charities, and others.” Giving USA 2006
|2011 Contributions By Source of Contribution
|| $217.79 billion
|| $41.67 billion
|| $24.41 billion
|| $14.55 billion
- People give to support what they value and believe in. The giving percentages are relatively constant year to year with minor shifts. We need to think creatively how to tap into as many giving categories that can be related to our parks and programs.
- Giving to arts, culture, and humanities organizations increased 4.1 percent in 2011 from 2010, with $13.12 billion in contributions. Giving to these causes, including historical and cultural preservation, accounted for 4 percent of all contributions. Giving to environment/conservation and animal related causes increased 4.6 percent from 2010 to $7.81 billion in total contributions. Both are a relatively small percentages of total giving.
- Think how you can also relate park needs and giving opportunities to the larger giving categories on the Contributions by Charitable Cause pie chart, such as education, human services, health and religion. Parks can support fitness initiatives, youth employment and education programs. In several instances, funds have been raised to restore historic churches in parks.
- By 2050, an estimated $41 trillion will transfer from one generation to the next, with gifts to nonprofit organizations projected to exceed $6 trillion.
Source: Giving USA 2012
Footnote: *Unallocated contributions included deductions carried over multiple tax years, gifts to new organizations and government agencies, and foundation grants to international recipients.
*Estimate developed jointly by Foundation Center and Giving USA
|2011 Contributions By Type of Recipient Organization
|| $95.88 billion
|| $38.87 billion
| Gifts to Foundations*
|| $25.83 billion
| Human Services
|| $35.39 billion
| Public-Society Benefit
|| $21.37 billion
|| $24.75 billion
| International Affairs
|| $22.68 billion
| Arts, Culture & Humanities
|| $13.12 billion
| Environment & Animals
|| $7.81 billion
| Foundation Grants to Individuals
|| $3.75 billion
|| $8.97 billion
Giving USA also surveyed charitable organizations to find out how gifts changed from the previous year.
Among the report findings:
- Faith-based charities, including churches, received the most charitable gifts in 2010, capturing $95.88 billion – 32 percent of total contributions in 2011. Religious groups received more than a third of all contributions in the U.S. Faith-based donations increased 0.8 percent from the previous year.
- Charitable giving to colleges, universities and educational organizations accounted for the second largest share of all charitable giving at 13 percent. Educational institutions and organizations received $38.87 billion in gifts. Charitable giving to the education subsector increased by an estimated 4 percent in 2011. This follows an increase in 5.6 percent in 2010.
- Giving to foundations dropped in 2011 by an estimated 6.1 percent to $25.83 billion. The estimate for giving to foundations includes gifts made to independent, community and operating foundations.
- Social or human service charities raised $35.39 billion in 2011. Giving to social service charities remained steady in 2011.
- Increased concerns over global warming and the impact the environment has on health motivated donors to give $7.81 billion to environmental and animal-welfare issues. This is an increase of 4.6 percent from 2010. People are beginning to connect the environment to health-related issues. This has helped garner support and draw new donors for environmental causes. Giving for these organizations was 3 percent of the total estimated giving for 2011.
- Contributions to public society benefit organizations - nonprofit organizations, such as the United Way or Jewish Federation, who collect funds for distribution to a number of other agencies - received $21.37 billion in donations. This reflects a 4 percent increase from 2010.
- Overall giving to health-related organizations such as hospitals and other health charities, that raise money for research, public awareness and fighting diseases increased to $24.75 billion, a modest increase of 2.7 percent in 2011.
- Arts, cultural and humanities giving rose by 4.1 percent with more than $13.12 billion being raised for arts, culture and the humanities in 2011. Gifts to arts, culture and humanities organizations were 4 percent total of estimated giving in 2011, a slightly smaller share than the 5 percent received in 2010.
- International affairs organizations received $22.68 billion in 2011, an increase of 7.6 percent compared to 2010. International affairs giving is 8 percent of total estimated giving.
Charities were able to raise awareness and ultimately contributions by implementing new development strategies that include:
- Build a more compelling case for giving in light of a more competitive fundraising environment. Charities built strong messages around the consequences of not supporting their cause, such as highlighting the loss of education or art programs, the closing of a center, or reductions in services.
- Improve communications with donors through quarterly newsletters and regular email announcements.
- Partner with other organizations to raise visibility and gain a broader audience.
- Improve efforts in getting small annual gifts from members and acknowledging donor gifts within one or two days.
- Increase advocacy work and draw attention to a need or crisis.
- Shift priorities from fundraising for specific groups to fundraising for specific problems or needs.
In Charitable Giving to Education, Health and Arts: An Analysis of Data Collected in the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study, 2003,
the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University concluded that beyond income and wealth, the most important indicator of a household's propensity to donate is philanthropic activity for other causes.
"The most important implication for fundraising professionals is that donors who either give or volunteer for one cause may extend their generosity to other causes," according to Campbell & Company who prepared the report. "These donors remain important sources of philanthropic potential for organizations..."
In light of this and increased giving in other sectors, park support organizations should relate park needs in donors' minds in other giving categories beyond environmental. Consider partnering with education, health and other charitable organizations to broaden the audience/potential donor base, diversify income sources and obtain additional funding through private foundations, government agencies and other income. Park support organizations can connect park needs with other charitable causes through a number of ways ranging from education initiatives to youth and health programs.
Non Cash Contributions
The recently published IRS Spring 2010 Statistics of Income Bulletin provides insight into noncash giving by donation type, donor age and income for tax year 2007. More than 6.9 million tax returns reported $52.8 billion in noncash charitable donations. Of the roughly 18.6 million noncash donations that were reported:
- Corporate stock represented the largest category of noncash donations at $23.7 billion or 44.9 % of all contributions.
- Clothing donations represented the second largest category of noncash donations at $7.6 billion followed by land donations at $4.0 billion. They represent 14.4 percent and 7.7 percent of all non cash contributions, respectively.
- Taxpayers with annual gross incomes of $10 million or more gave the most non cash donations at $17.6 billion or one-third of all donations. The average donation amount per return of taxpayers in this category was $2.4 million. Taxpayers with annual gross incomes between $200,000 and $500,000 gave $6.6 billion (12.5 percent of all donations), representing the second largest group to give in terms of dollar value. The overall average donation amount for all taxpayers claiming donations and deductions were just over $7,600.
|Individual Noncash Charitable Contributions, 2007
||(Money amounts are in the thousands of dollars)
|Type of Donation
||Number of Donations
|Art and collectibles
Source: Internal Revenue Service, Statistics of Income Bulletin, Spring 2010
Charitable Giving to Education, Health and Arts: An Analysis of Data Collected in the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study, 2003 analyzed
the differences in the personal and household characteristics of donors to the three sectors.
Those who gave to arts, education and health represented 14 percent, 26 percent and 37 percent of the donors to secular charities, respectively.
The report found that 67 percent of households donated $25 or more to charity in 2002. Households contributed on average $1,872 each. Among
- 11 percent of households contributed to religious causes only.
- 21 percent contributed to only secular causes.
- 34 percent contributed to both religious and secular causes.
- Arts donors' contributed on average 2.1 percent of their income to secular causes, one of the highest shares of income for secular giving.
The average amount contributed to the arts by donors was $215.
- Education donors supported, on average, 2.7 other secular causes averaging 1.5 percent of their income. The average amount contributed to education by these donors was $416.
- Donors to health-related causes support, on average, 2.4 other secular causes. Health donors give amounts to secular causes that average 1.2 percent of their income. The average amount contributed to health organizations by donors is $298.
For more information on the Giving USA Foundation, go to their website at www.givingusa.org/ or call 847-375-4709 or toll free 800-462-2372.
Information on the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University can be found at http://www.philanthropy.iupui.edu/ or contact 317-274-4200.