U.S. Giving Trends and Year-End | Sharpe Group
Posted June 12th, 2024

U.S. Giving Trends and Year-End

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project* released its 2023 nonprofit sector giving trends report based on fundraising data from thousands of nonprofits. For the data panel of organizations that raise $5,000 – $25 million annually, the total raised for Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 was $6.5 billion from nearly 5 million donors.

Key insights from the report

2024 Year-End Give-Take Giving Trends.jpg
  • While overall donor counts continued to fall slightly and maintain a downward trend since an initial pandemic peak in 2020, there was a considerable increase in donors during the fourth quarter of 2023.
  • The biggest decrease in donor counts was for those giving $500 or less, which accounted for 80% of all donors.
  • Midsize and larger donors, who still provided the bulk of overall contributions, also decreased and accounted for less than 20% of all donors.
  • New acquisitions accounted for about 40% of total donors.
  • Just over 70% of donors made a single donation to a specific charity and almost 30% gave more than once.

Bigger is better

Even though they only numbered about 20% of all donors, those making midsize and larger gifts accounted for over 90% of the dollars contributed. Contributions over $5,000 accounted for more than 75% of all donations. Those contributing $500 or less counted for fewer than 8% of the funds donated.

What will this mean for giving in 2024?

While the end of 2023 saw a boost tied to the stock market and hopeful economic news, growing uncertainty after the first quarter of 2024 calls for a more defensive fundraising strategy. It will be important to recognize the overall contributions of repeat retained donors and recaptured donors, who gave almost 75% of all donations last year.

While you should never ignore acquiring new donors, it will be critical to fine-tune your plans for your core donors who may have the capacity to give multiple gifts of more than $500. These groups are worth special consideration during the remainder of the year.

Time now spent planning, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding donors who are responsible for 75%-90% of your giving totals may turn another challenging year into a winner.

*The Fundraising Effectiveness Project was established in 2006 and is administered by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. Learn more at The Fundraising Effectiveness Project | Association of Fundraising Professionals.

More from Barlow: “Steps To Take To Prepare for a Strong Year-End” now available at sharpegroup.org/blog.

Barlow T. Mann, JD, Sharpe Group general counselAs Sharpe Group’s general counsel, Barlow Mann has consulted with some of the country’s most successful gift planning programs. He has authored articles for Planned Giving Today, Trusts & Estates Magazine, The Journal of Gift Planning and Fundraising Management, and his commentaries have been featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The NonProfit Times.


2024 Year-End Give-Take Data Services

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The publisher of Sharpe Insights 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 Sharpe Insights 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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