A Snapshot of 2011 Giving Trends

A Snapshot of 2011 Giving Trends

by Bill High

            Here’s a sampling of  some of the news from the Chronicle of Philanthropy November 17, 2011 issue, and my insights:

            1.         Lady Gaga has created a foundation to prevent bullying and promote self-confidence.  It’s a collaborative effort with Harvard University and the John MacArthur Foundation.  Insight:  It tells you a lot when generosity efforts continue to be lead by those in secular entertainment circles and receive the backing of major universities.  Where has the Christian community gone in leading in this space?

            2.         Protestant Church Donations are Down.  An Empty Tomb study reported that in 2009 churchgoers to Protestant churches (Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian etc.) gave only 2.38 percent of their income.  This was their lowest percentage in 4 decades.  Insight:  while it is easy to blame the economy it is more troubling to question whether this is a long term drop precipitated by declining attendance, and a younger generation that has not been taught to give.

            3.         Foundations are investing their assets in business.  Nearly 14% of foundations are reporting an investment in businesses and other entities.  Insight:  Look for this as a long term trend, particularly as the stock market has great fluctuations and the opportunity to invest in companies being vacated by retiring Boomers.

            4.         Corporate giving remains mixed.  In 50% of companies being studied, cash giving was lower in 2010 than in 2007.  Insight:  if your ministry can receive non-cash donations via groups like  www.iDonate.com you have a far greater chance of being the “darling”                  of a corporation.  The decline in cash giving will remain a long term trend as corporations sort out the country’s inability to deal with debt              which creates an uncertain environment for growth.

The sum of these brief points:  the charity world, and consequently, charitable giving have forever changed.  Those waiting for things to “return to normal” may find themselves out of business.  This is the new normal.

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Published November 21, 2011

Topics: Giving Trends

Giving Trends

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