Posted March 1st, 2006

Survey Indicates Increased Giving

In early January of this year, Give & Take readers responded to a brief survey of fundraising results in 2005. They were asked whether overall funding and planned giving results of their organizations and institutions were up, down, or about the same as the preceding year.

Overall some 63% of the 422 respondents said their giving was up, 25% reported it was about the same as the previous year, and only 12% reported that giving was down in 2005.

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In the case of planned gifts, some 50% reported that their results held steady, 32% were up, and just 17% said their planned gift results were down.

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Similar results were reported for both bequests and other planned gifts.

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The planned gift numbers reflect the relatively slower growth in bequests and other planned gifts anticipated to occur over the next few years in advance of the much-anticipated acceleration in the transfer of wealth occurring as the Baby Boom generation begins to pass away in large numbers in 2020 and beyond (See Give & Take, September 2005.) Reductions in the number of deaths per year in America over the past three years, slower growth in investment market values, and the increase in numbers of nonprofits seeking bequests are among the factors contributing to slower growth in bequests and other planned gifts.

Special gift opportunity examined

Participants in the survey were also asked whether they had received gifts during the fall that could be directly attributed to the charitable giving incentives Congress included in the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act (KETRA). Some 30% of respondents indicated they received gifts directly related to KETRA totaling $40 million. The average amount per organization reporting gifts they knew were motivated by KETRA legislation was $649,000. Many others indicated that they believed a large number of smaller gifts had also been influenced by KETRA, but charities were not able to determine the total amount of those gifts.

Breaking down the results

Significant differences in various percentages existed among respondents depending on the type of nonprofit.

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Upon closer examination some interesting correlations are observable.

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Note there appears to be a very close relationship between the percentage of nonprofits reporting increases in total funding and the percentage reporting that bequest income and other planned gifts were up as well. A very close relationship also seems to exist between those who reported that planned gifts other than bequests were up and those who received KETRA gifts. For example, social service respondents reported the smallest percentage of growth in total funding, while also reporting low percentage increases in bequests, other planned gifts, and KETRA gifts.

Watch for future numbers

In coming months more comprehensive reports on giving in 2005 will be released by the AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy and others. In the meantime, the Give & Take reader survey indicates that despite tsunami-related giving early in the year and the outpouring of support for hurricane victims in the fall, a solid majority of nonprofits experienced increases in philanthropic support last year, others experienced little change, and only a relatively small percentage appear to have experienced declines.

The publisher of Give & Take is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. For advice and assistance in specific cases, the services of your own counsel should be obtained. Articles in Give & Take may generally be reprinted for distribution to board members and staff of nonprofit institutions and other non-donor groups. Proper credit must be given. Call for details.

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