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Blackbaud, Inc. released its Charitable Giving Report, featuring the sector’s first look at actual data showing how nonprofit fundraising performed in 2013, as well as commentary from experts in the field. The Report draws from The Blackbaud Index, which tracks $12.5 billion in U.S.-based charitable giving from more than 4000 organizations on a monthly basis to provide the largest analysis of overall and online giving trends in the nonprofit sector.

“2013 really showed that the fundraising environment is continuing to improve for the vast majority of organizations,” said Steve MacLaughlin, co-author of the Charitable Giving Report and director of Blackbaud’s Idea Lab. “The combination of growth across organizations of all sizes and a reversal of negative trends by all sectors contributed to a positive year.”

Helping to drive that growth, according to the Report, was a recovering economy and a focus on fundraising fundamentals, including: investment in fundraising capacity and attention to cultivating major donors, using data to better understand and segment donors, refining communications, focusing on impact, and making more effective use of technology.

Key findings from the Charitable Giving Report include:

  • Overall charitable giving grew 4.9 percent in 2013, while online giving grew 13.5 percent.
  • Online giving accounted for 6.4 percent of all charitable giving in 2013.
  • Large organizations had the greatest increase in overall charitable giving in 2013, while small organizations had the greatest increase in online giving.
  • International affairs organizations had the greatest increase in overall charitable giving in 2013 (13.2 percent), while faith-based organizations had the greatest increase in online giving (18.1 percent).
  • More than one-third (33.6 percent) of overall charitable giving happens in the last three months of the year, with the highest percentage (17.5 percent) coming in December.
  • Nonprofit fundraising performance differed greatly based on the size and sector of the organization. Nonprofits with the most effective fundraising operations focused on their return on investment and recognized that spending on overhead is “essential,” according to Bill McGinly, president and CEO of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP). “You’re not going to raise dollars unless you are hiring people and paying the overhead necessary to support those activities,” he said.

    Overall giving by size and sector
    Fundraising by large organizations, with annual total fundraising more than $10 million, was up by 5.7 percent. This was a significant rebound from 2012 and was the highest growth rate among organizations in the analysis. Medium organizations, with annual total fundraising between $1 million and $10 million, had an increase of 3.8 percent in 2013 while small nonprofits, with annual total fundraising less than $1 million, grew their fundraising 3.6 percent.

    Every sector had year-over-year fundraising growth in 2013. This includes strong growth by environment and animal welfare organizations, as well as education institutions. Healthcare, human services, international affairs and public and society organizations all returned to positive growth compared to 2012. This indicates strong momentum heading into 2014, especially for some sectors that have struggled in recent years.

    Online giving by size and sector
    Nonprofit organizations of all sizes grew their online giving in 2013, and their growth rates exceeded 2012 growth levels across the board. Small nonprofits grew their online fundraising 18.4 percent, medium nonprofits had a year-over-year increase of 11.3 percent and large organizations grew by 12.7 percent.

    Online giving to faith-based organizations grew the most in 2013. Healthcare, education and environment and animal welfare organizations also had very positive online giving growth in 2013. Arts and culture, public and society benefit, and medical research nonprofits had single-digit growth rates in 2013. This reflects the trend in overall giving to these types of organizations.
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