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News & Press: Member Insights

New Giving Projections Raise New Questions

Friday, March 27, 2015   (0 Comments)
By Keith Curtis, Founder & President, The Curtis Group, and Chair, Giving USA Foundation

What giving trends are you seeing in your nonprofit work? One comprehensive take can be found in the just-released “Philanthropy Outlook: 2015 & 2016,” developed by our Giving USA Foundation research partner The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and funded by one of our Giving Institute colleagues, Marts & Lundy.

As chair of the Giving USA Foundation, I was interested to see this projection based on the latest philanthropic research. Giving USA is the longest-running and most authoritative giving research in the country, and it has been one of the main resources for our sector. Until now, there hasn’t much research outside of Giving USA that examines the broad philanthropic sector. This outlook adds another perspective and looks to the future. Among projections in the report, contributions from individuals/households, estates, corporations and foundations are all expected to increase in 2015 and 2016. Specifically:

We need to keep in mind that this data projects giving on a macro, rather than a micro, level. It’s not about the numbers as much as the factors that could impact philanthropy:
  • Unpredictable events, including policy changes, national and international economic recessions/depressions and disasters
  • Stability of underlying variables, with ranges of variability both narrow (US. GDP) and wide (S&P 500 stock index)
If all these factors go as predicted, the giving projections can be helpful as you go through your planning, budgets, capital campaigns, etc. Use the Outlook as a guide, but not a crystal ball. Above all, remember that nonprofits still have to do the work to get those dollars:
  • Talk to your donors
  • Develop volunteer fundraising leadership
  • Hire staff
  • Build infrastructure
This Outlook could help nonprofits in many ways, but what do you think of the numbers? Do they seem realistic to you? How will they help you as an organization? Every June, we move from speculation to specifics when Giving USA comes out. This year the release date is set for June 16, and I look forward to sharing with you our philanthropic findings for 2014.

This article was originally published on the Curtis Group blog, “Focus on Philanthropy,” and can be viewed here.

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