Our vision is simple. We want to develop extraordinary leaders in the world of philanthropy. Everything we do is designed to help elevate the fundraising, consulting and nonprofit services industry and enhance the philanthropic sector, all while advancing your own career.

To actively champion thought leadership that empowers philanthropy.

To develop extraordinary leaders in the world of philanthropy.


Who We Are

The Giving Institute consists of member organizations that have embraced and embodied the core values of ethics, excellence, and leadership in advancing philanthropy. Serving clients of every size and purpose, from local institutions to international organizations, The Giving Institute member organizations embrace the highest ethical standards and maintain a strict code of fair practices. The Giving Institute is also the parent organization of the Giving USA Foundation™, which endeavors to advance philanthropy through research and education and produces the annual report on charitable giving in the United States, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy

  • Looking for fundraising counsel? Discover why your nonprofit organization should choose a Giving Institute member organization.

  • Does your organization provide fundraising counsel? See why you should join The Giving Institute.



Established in 1935 as the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel, The Giving Institute (renamed in 2005), is a trade association first composed of eight elite firms. It sought to enhance professionalism and create high standards for the largely unregulated area of professional fundraising. 

Among its early achievements and contributions to the fundraising field were structure and its Code of Ethics. The Giving Institute championed the development of widely accepted standards of professional conduct, helped to fund the start up of the United Way, and worked with New York’s legislature to develop and enact the Charity Registration Act, which became the basis for a nationwide model. Its member firms have helped charitable organizations raise billions of dollars and provided invaluable counsel to philanthropic institutions. Today, The Giving Institute is composed of more than 50 member organizations.

Beyond this original mission to promote the evolution of the professional fundraising field, the Association's other commitment—promoting philanthropy—has also expanded through the years.

Giving USA was first published as a public service in 1955. In 1985, three Association leaders, Arthur D. Raybin, John Grenzebach and Charles E. Lawson, incorporated the Giving USA Foundation™, formerly the AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy, to carry out and expand a number of the public service goals of the Association. Today the Foundation publishes Giving USA, the annual report on American philanthropy, and supports research and education. Giving Institute continues to provide financial support, expertise, and leadership to the Foundation and works in partnership with it to advance philanthropy and promote ethics in the fundraising profession.


For more on the history of The Giving Institute and Giving USA, download the 2015 Giving USA Spotlight, "Celebrating Service to Philanthropy," available for free from the Giving USA store. 

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