Development Digest

AFP Compensation Survey published in the summer issue of Advancing Philanthropy

by Central Ohio AFP member Lori Hunter Overmyer, MBA, CFRE

Reprinted from the summer issue of Advancing Philanthropy

AFP International Launches New Campaign to Address Gender Inequity in Fundraising

March 8, 2018

On International Women’s Day, AFP has launched the Women’s Impact Initiative (WII) to address issues of gender inequity in the fundraising profession and charitable sector, including sexual harassment, salary inequality, and the lack of women in senior leadership roles.

The Initiative is a two-year campaign to assess, address and highlight the specific issues and challenges that women in the fundraising profession face with the ultimate goal of creating resources that help overcome gender inequity issues in the profession. The initiative’s objectives will be focused on research, education, awareness, and guidance and support. WII will culminate with a Women’s Impact Summit as a stand-alone event in 2019.

“Women make up approximately 70 percent of the fundraising profession, but account for only about 30 percent of fundraising leadership roles throughout the charitable sector,” said Ann Hale, CFRE, the chair of AFP. “AFP’s own Compensation and Benefits Report has shown that female salaries are consistently $20,000 less than salaries for our male counterparts. The issue of inequity—along with related issues such as implicit bias and harassment—is critical if we are to have a diverse, fair, vibrant and growing fundraising profession. AFP is committed to addressing these issues through the Women’s Impact Initiative and other activities.”

The first major action under WII is the release of a comprehensive survey about sexual harassment in the profession conducted by AFP and The Chronicle of Philanthropy through Harris Poll. The results of the survey, which included over 1,000 fundraisers across the U.S. and Canada, will be released in early April and at AFP’s International Fundraising Conference. That data will be used to develop anti-sexual harassment resources for the profession and made available to AFP members and non-members.

The Initiative is being led by a task force chaired by Tycely Williams, CFRE, vice president of development for the YWCA of the USA in Washington, D.C. 

“While WII is addressing some very challenging and in my case, very personal issues, the goal of the Initiative is meant to empower,” said Williams. “We want to provide the tools, skills and resources so that fair and equitable salaries can be negotiated. We want to provide the resources that create cultures and standards that are against harassment in all its forms. We want to provide mentoring programs, as well as research and other services, that can break barriers and create new leadership opportunities for women. There are so many great things we can do for the profession by coming together under WII, and I encourage everyone—regardless of gender—to get involved.”

WII is the first campaign under AFP’s new IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Impact Program. The underlying goal of the program is to remove the leadership gap in the fundraising profession by engaging, training, and supporting different diverse communities as they move into the profession. The program and its initiatives will work to create a fundraising profession that is not only diverse, but inclusive and equitable. 

“Whether you are looking to move into leadership or are just getting into the profession – ALL people should have safe and open workplaces free from harassment and bullying,” said Mike Geier, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “All fundraisers should be recognized equally for their contributions. That’s why the IDEA Impact Program and the Women’s Impact Initiative were created. Even though WII is a two-year project, the underlying programs and services will remain in place and continue to serve the profession. AFP is dedicated to addressing these issues for the long-term.”

(To see the video with Tycely Williams, chair of the AFP Women’s Impact Initiative, click here.)

For more information about the Women’s Impact Initiative, please contact Heba Mahmoud at or (703) 519-8486.

What You Should — and Shouldn’t — Do When Meeting With a Donor

Link to The Chronicle of Philanthropy

January 23 2018

2018 National Philanthropy Day Honorees Announced

The 2018 National Philanthropy Day honorees have been announced.  Join us for the celebration of November 20, 2018.



Local business owner and United States Air Force veteran Tom Davis’ philanthropic objectives align with his mantra: “If I can save one life, it’s worth every penny I have.” He has demonstrated this through his generous support of causes, including HIV/AIDS treatment, higher education, LGBTQ youth, student athletics, cancer research and Columbus’ cultural institutions.


Driven by a passion for helping families with special needs children, Aimee White’s inspiration, planning and leadership were essential in funding the renovation and expansion of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Riverside Hospital and the construction of the Barrington Elementary neighborhood's first ADA-accessible playground.


Lisa Cisco’s vision of taking over an entire cruise ship to create a “floating Buckeye Nation” to raise money for cancer research became a reality in February of 2008 when the first Buckeye Cruise for Cancer set sail. Spearheaded by co-founders Lisa Cisco and Chris Quinn, Buckeye Cruise is a grassroots effort made possible thanks to the support of hundreds of volunteers. It raises millions of dollars each year, bringing together cancer survivors, Buckeye fans, former athletes, OSU alumni, physicians, and others—who all have two things in common: They love Ohio State, and they hate cancer. Go Bucks! Beat Cancer!


The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation thoughtfully engage in collaborative and impactful efforts to improve health and quality of life through education, research and service consistent with the osteopathic heritage. The foundation's purposeful grantmaking addresses evolving community needs, while driving innovation and leveraging contributions from individuals, corporations and other foundations.


PNC’s stellar commitment to enhancing our community has been demonstrated by its focus on early childhood education, as well as its collaboration with nonprofits in the areas of affordable housing, community development, community services, cultural enrichment through the arts and revitalization and stabilization of low- to moderate-income areas.


Constantly aspiring to maximize its impact in the community, Diamond Hill has been disproportionately philanthropic for an institution of its size, generously supporting hundreds of projects, causes and educational institutions through financial contributions, volunteer service and community leadership.


In 2015, Ian Montgomery decided to do something to honor the grandmother and aunt he’d lost to cancer while uniting his love of running and hockey in the process. He then planned and launched the “Frozen Banana Race,” a two-mile fundraising run to support the pediatric cancer work of the Blue Jackets Foundation. Over the past four years, it has grown into an increasingly successful annual fundraiser, attracting more participants and raising more dollars each year.


With nearly three decades of fundraising experience, Erich Hunker - currently in his 19th year at Columbus Academy -  is an engaging leader and personable colleague with an exceptional track record of accomplishments in fundraising, marketing, communications, planning, executive management, and community engagement. Erich has proven willing to lead and serve wherever needed, including contributing significantly to the growth and vitality of the Central Ohio Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals. As a mentor and professional friend for both new and seasoned colleagues, he has indirectly, yet significantly, impacted the advancement of many great charitable causes in our community.

*LEAVE A LEGACYR. KEVIN KERNS, Trustee of the Karen Kerns Dresser Trust

Continuing a family legacy of commitment to social justice and philanthropy, Kevin Kerns’ legacy gift to the Catholic Social Services’ Our Lady of Guadalupe Center to fund a bilingual case manager will connect the Center’s clients to individualized resources and move them to self-sufficiency. This will empower the Guadalupe Center, which serves the largest population of Hispanics in central Ohio, to have an exponentially greater impact. Additionally, Mr. Kerns’ gift will be leveraged into even more funding to help the immigrant Latino community.   *The Leave a Legacy award is presented in partnership with the Charitable Gift Planners of Central Ohio.

PRESS RELEASE: Celebration of Philanthropy Draws Large Crowd in Columbus

(Columbus, Ohio) – Nearly 650 of Columbus’ most philanthropic-minded individuals gathered at the 2017 Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter's National Philanthropy Day luncheon celebration on November 21, 2017.

The annual event, celebrating it's 25th anniversary year in Central Ohio, honors those who have significantly impacted our community through their volunteer and philanthropic efforts. The National Philanthropy Day luncheon was emceed by NBC4 anchor, Matt Barnes, and AFP Central Ohio Board President, Carolyn Caldwell of Raising Awareness, Raising Funds, and is reflective of the generous philanthropic spirit that characterizes Central Ohio.
The 25th annual award honorees recognized are:

  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser- The Reverend Monsignor Joseph M. Hendricks
  • Outstanding Small Corporation – Compton Construction
  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Group – Buckeyethon
  • Leave a Legacy Award (Presented by the Charitable Gift Planners of Central Ohio) – J.W. “Bill” Straker
  • Big Lots Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award – Meagan Warren, Books for Bedtime
  • Outstanding Foundation – The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation
  • Outstanding Professional Fundraiser – Marilyn Frank
  • Outstanding Large Corporation – Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
  • The Columbus Foundation Outstanding Philanthropist Award – Al and Barbara Siemer

Mr. Barnes and Ms. Caldwell recognized the generous sponsors who invested in the event, supporting the celebration and Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter: Big Lots Foundation, The Columbus Foundation, L Brands, Benefactor Group, Cardinal Health, CompDrug, Cramer & Associates, Creative Living, Nationwide, Ohio Health Foundation, The Ohio State University Office of Student Life, BuckeyeThon, PNC and United Way of Central Ohio. Over 20 additional tables were sponsored, as well. Immediately following the event, guests enjoyed a dessert reception, and received complimentary copies of the Columbus Business First Giving Guide and Sophisticated Giving guide. Other in-kind donors to the event are Live Technologies, Oberer's Flowers, Grange Insurance, and 90.5 WCBE.
This event is an incredible reminder of what Central Ohio stands for, and what happens when mission, vision, and giving come together. It is truly magnificent to see the impact that can be made when people give of their time, talent or treasure. AFP Central Ohio is honored to play a professional role in connecting the values of those giving-oriented people, families and groups to the non-profits that serve our communities so well. Each year, we come away from this event feeling inspired to continue this work, and we truly look forward to celebrating philanthropy with our fellow citizens at this event, each year” said event chair Stephanie Christie.

Photo (L to R):  Colin Quinn, BuckeyeThon; Susan Holdren on behalf of J.W. "Bill" Straker; Kathryn Dobbs, Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation; Meagan Warren, Books for Bedtime; Blake Compton, Compton Construction; Barbara Siemer; Al Siemer; Marilyn Frank; The Reverend Monsignor Joseph M. Hendricks 

Honoree Videos can be viewed at

Training Opportunities for Charities available from the Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section

Nonprofit News 

Five Training Opportunities for Charities available from the Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section


The Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section provides in-person training on multiple topics and hosts monthly webinars.

In-person trainings, available by request, include:

Available webinars include:

To inquire about the trainings of the Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section, send an email to  

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office also provides trainings on a variety of other topics. Some presentations, such as those covering consumer protection, crime victims’ issues, and small business matters, could be useful for charitable organizations, depending on their constituents and partners.

For information about any of the Ohio Attorney General’s training opportunities, or contact the Attorney General’s Help Center at 800-282-0510. 


Information provided by Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section

Celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month 2017


To commemorate Pride Month, AFP  International talked with LGBTQ members about their experiences in the fundraising community, working with donors and boards, and what advice they have for fundraisers of all backgrounds.

The month of June was chosen for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in New York City, which occurred at the end of June 1969. Many pride events are held during this month to recognize the significant impact the LGBTQ community has had on the world.

To commemorate Pride Month, AFP talked with LGBTQ members about their experiences in the fundraising community, working with donors and boards, and what advice they have for fundraisers of all backgrounds.

Things have changed significantly for the LGBTQ community since the Stonewall Riots, of course, and even more so over the last twenty years. “Yes, it’s changed positively since I’ve been in fundraising,” said Josh Newton, CFRE, president and CEO of the University of Connecticut Foundation in Storrs, Conn. “Back in the late 90s, being gay or lesbian was more of an issue, even at places you might have considered progressive or expected to be more open and welcoming. Now, for me, being out and gay in the workplace simply isn’t an issue anymore—it’s gone mainstream. But I also realize that not every LGBTQ fundraiser is in the same workplace situation.”

“My experience in the profession parallels the experience in the broader U.S. and world culture,” said Robbe Healey, ACFRE, vice president for philanthropy at Simpson Senior Services in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. “I don’t feel like the nonprofit sector is significantly ahead of the rest of the world in terms of acceptance of the LGBTQ community. We continue to move forward, with some ups and down, but there remain organizations that are either slower to accept change or are simply resistant to change. There are regional differences, as well as differences by issue or subsector, and I think that’s to be expected.”

Ana Maria Dapena, a consultant in Puerto Rico, agrees. She notes that while Puerto Rico has come a long way in terms of rights for the LGBTQ community, she finds “crude homophobia” surfacing all the time. “It can be exhausting,” she says. “On one hand, we had something like the tragedy at the Pulse night club in Orlando, where 23 of the victims were from Puerto Rico, and there was a massive outpouring of support here. But then there are the little things—conversations where suddenly someone you thought you knew says something disparaging about the LGBTQ community. It hits you hard, and you have to play it smart and try to avoid the stress.”

For many of the fundraisers interviewed for this article, “playing it smart” means finding the right balance between aggressively pushing for change and quietly trying to move the needle. “You need both types of people to help bring about change,” said Healey. “I’m more of the latter type, and I think it’s a compliment sometimes when someone says ‘Oh, I didn’t know you were gay,’ because that means it’s not become a huge issue. But that doesn’t mean I’m not pushing for change every single day in my own way.”

The Importance of Authenticity

Depending on the culture of the institution, that balance can be very difficult to maintain when you’re trying to build relationships with donors, staff and others, according to John Dawe, president of Dawe Consulting Services in Kingston, Pa. “I hear this all the time during discussions at LGBTQ roundtables at conferences and forums,” he says. “How do you balance being gay at an organization that isn’t necessarily gay-friendly? How do you reconcile being truthful with donors, board members and staff who might ask about your family, even in a friendly or passing manner, and not wanting to risk hurting your organization?”

The term authenticity was offered by several as a key principle that they live by in the workplace, but its implications are much broader than just sexual identity.

 “For me, it’s not a question of being gay,” said Patrick Feeley, CFRE, executive vice president for Carron Treatment Centers in Wernersville, Pa.. “It’s a question of being authentic and sharing information about the cause. I’m a more effective fundraiser when I’m authentic, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to share everything about my life.”

Feeley always reminds himself that fundraising is his career, and although he brings a lot of personality and individuality to the position, that’s not his focus. His job is to make a match between his organization and a donor. “I hope the donor likes me and accepts me,” he says. “That always helps of course. But that’s not my priority.”

David Bennett, former chief development officer for the National Geographic Society, recalls working with a major donor who had completely different views from him or his organization. “We agreed on almost nothing political, I could just tell,” he says. “What was important for me to remember is that while I needed to be authentic, it wasn’t about ME. The authenticity came from the language I used about how we—the donor and the organization—could find common space and common language to make a gift that he was excited about. With some donors, you develop closer relationships, and others you don’t.”

Newton estimates that in 80 percent of his conversations with donors and others, his sexual identity is unimportant and never comes up, while perhaps in ten percent of his discussions, he might try to intentionally steer away from the topic based on dialogue from the other person. At other times, the issue might become a point of connection based on the donor or his or her partner, but it’s not an issue he ever brings up first. “My sexual identity isn’t something I think about a whole lot in these types of conversations, but I am cognizant of my institution and the donor when it does.”

Healey also points out that fundraisers bump up against all sorts of boundaries when talking with donors, whether it’s political, cultural or other issues. “Our job as fundraisers is to be able to understand and navigate these boundaries—that’s the mark of a competent, professional fundraiser. It really has nothing to do with sexuality issues,” she says.

Blurring Boundaries with Social Media

But social media has blurred some of those boundaries, giving members of the LGBTQ community a way to express themselves and measure the acceptance of their colleagues. “I’m constantly surprised by the support I get on Facebook and other social media from people I’d never expect to hear from,” said Dapena. “Social media is a way for me to be myself, and if people come to my page and get a sense of who I am and my identity, then that’s on them.”

Healey agrees, adding that social media is the real caveat to being careful with boundaries. “If you have an open social media page, like Facebook, then you are ‘out there’ and people are going to know,” she says. “Maybe you’re not telling anyone directly, one on one, but the message is still there.”

Healey recalls not being fully mindful of the impact of social media when she first became chair of AFP and the use of Facebook and LinkedIn was increasing dramatically. “I set up pages and was accepting friend requests from chapters and members as I traveled and gave speeches,” she says. “My partner and I got married and posted pics, and everyone saw and commented. So, everyone connected with me on Facebook would have known I was lesbian and married. While it hasn’t been an issue for me, social media can be a double-edged sword in that respect, if you’re not ready to express yourself that way.”

Creating a Culture of Acceptance

How can organizations help LGBTQ fundraisers feel comfortable enough to express themselves freely?  If you want to be seen as an organization that is accepting of the LGBTQ community (or any other group), then you must make sure that the culture IS accepting, from top to bottom.

“You have to think about everything, from policy—and ENFORCING policy—to the kinds of partnerships you enter into and what sort of organizations you work with,” said Dawe. “I encourage organizations to talk to local LGBTQ organizations, check out national or local forums hosted by these groups and see how you can better serve the community. For example, a domestic violence shelter might work with the local LGBTQ center to provide information on same sex domestic violence issues, or counseling agencies providing youth services can connect parents and guardians of queer youth with the local Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) chapter. It’s really important to lead by example and show outwardly what you are doing so that others can see.”

A key commonality among the many stories shared by the fundraisers interviewed for this story was the importance of a boss who was open and accepting. In many cases, fundraisers pointed to great experiences—and first realizing how welcoming the workplace could be—from bosses who made it clear that sexual identity wouldn’t be an issue and supported LGBTQ fundraisers working in the organization.

“I think we have to remember that it’s always hard to be the first at anything,” says Bennett. “What I mean is, it can be very difficult to be the first staff member at an organization to come out as a gay, lesbian, trans or whichever. We’re also in an important time in history where LGBTQ fundraisers are entering the leadership ranks of mainstream organizations, and the same applies to women and people of color. We need to be very supportive of them, because how our organizations are perceived to treat them sends very loud, direct messages to others.”

Bennett recalls being surprised how important it was to some people FOR HIM to be the first gay manager at one of his organizations. “I was more visible to staff, some of whom I had never met before. They would come up to me at lunch in the cafeteria and say hi. And I think some of them were thinking, if David could be there in that position, then I can be too. So, the level of visibility—and the example we set—is critical, especially for LGBTQ fundraisers who might still be unsure about coming out publicly.”

And if someone does come out to you? “It’s very important to make him or her feel like they have an ally,” says Cathy Mann, CFRE, president of Cathy Mann & Associates in Toronto, Ontario. “We don’t necessarily need a cheerleader, but show them that you’re an ally, especially if they haven’t come out before. Express support and thank them. It’s okay to talk about it and ask questions, as long as you are authentically curious—you don’t have an agenda and you really want to hear from them.”

Shattering Assumptions

Perhaps the most important single thing that organization and fundraisers can do is to not make assumptions, according to Feeley and several other fundraisers. “We make all sorts of assumptions, whether it’s when we learn someone is a member of the LGBTQ community, or that they believe in this issue or another, when the reality is we really have no idea what they are truly like. For example, there are assumptions made that there are no conservative gays or lesbians, which is false. We need to do a better job of not assuming certain things, whether it applies to the LGBTQ community, or women, or any other group.”

“I am married to my partner and wear a wedding ring, and I ‘come out’ to others routinely when I am asked about my husband and what he does,” says Jaye Lopez Van Soest, development consultant for Public Justice in Washington, D.C. “I am not interested in embarrassing anyone or making anyone feel uncomfortable, but I have to gently say that I am an actually married to a woman. There are times when it can be funny, depending on the moment and the person involved, but it’s an assumption that many people make, including my colleagues.”

Mann takes the idea even further, noting that LGBTQ individuals are never fully out. “You don’t come out just once and then everyone knows,” she says. “You’re continually deciding on whether to come out every single day, every time you meet someone new. It’s a continuum, not just a moment. Sometimes I think, ‘Do I have it in me’ to come out to this person? It’s all very situational. And it can change sometimes, depending on work conditions, your comfort level and how well established you feel professionally and personally.”

Another issue related to assumptions and stereotypes is the sense of being pigeonholed and identified solely as an LGBTQ fundraiser. “I am a gay fundraiser, but that is just one aspect of my life,” says Newton. “If I go to conferences, I’m not always going to attend the LGBTQ affinity group table because there may be other interests I want to explore. Reaching out to LGBTQ fundraisers—or LGBTQ donors, board members, or whomever—doesn’t require a wholly separate approach.”

Dawe believes one of the most important stereotypes that needs to be broken is that LGBTQ individuals—and couples in particular—have higher incomes and therefore tend to be more interested in philanthropy and giving. It’s an outdated and inaccurate generalization, he says, to assume that all gay couples earn two salaries, don’t have children and therefore possess significant disposable income. “It’s not that the LGBTQ community isn’t philanthropic, of course. But not necessarily more so than other groups—we need to check these assumptions at the door.”

A Unique Perspective That Provides Lessons for Us All

Shattering assumptions, creating a culture of acceptance, working with social media, and navigating boundaries—there are lessons in the experiences of LGBTQ fundraisers that apply to all professionals and fundraisers. But the perspective—and the experience—is still very unique for the LGBTQ community.

“In Pennsylvania, an LGBTQ fundraiser can celebrate with his or her partner on Saturday, go to church on Sunday, and put a picture of their wedding on the work desk on Monday—and then be fired for it,” said Dawe, who works closely with Equality Pennsylvania on the issue. “We’ve made incredible progress, but sometimes it masks how far we still have to go in certain areas.”

Feeley thinks that it behooves LGBTQ fundraisers more than ever to find the right organization where they are comfortable. Ask the right questions of potential employers: What are their views and policies on diversity? What kind of diversity and inclusion initiatives has the organization led? “Find a good match for you,” he says. “Do your due diligence and find an organization that aligns with your values.”

“Remember that authenticity always wins,” says Bennett. “If you are out and active, great. If you’re quiet and laid back, be that person. What’s important is that you live your authentic self in the office space whether you are gay or straight. We are best as fundraisers when we are authentically ourselves.”

Lopez Van Soest also believes that AFP and other fundraising organizations have a vital role to play in supporting the LGBTQ community. “One thing that any community needs is a safe place, a forum for discussions when you can safely discuss things in a non-judgmental atmosphere,” she says. “For example, I think the app created for the AFP International Fundraising Conference was just phenomenal, and then John Dawe helped push for an LBGTQ channel on the app, which was so useful. If AFP and others can provide different platforms for that kind of communication and interaction, it will go a long way in supporting different communities.”

Ultimately, society continues to move forward, and as it does, the LGBTQ community continues to win important equal rights and greater acceptance in all aspects of society. “The train has left the station, the genie can’t be put back in the bottle—however you want to say it,” says Healey. “Our sector, and society around the world, is always enhanced by different opinions, expressions and cultures. Slowly but surely, the LGBTQ community is taking and solidifying its place alongside the many other groups that make up the social fabric of our world.”

Source: AFP International

Posted June 2017

Giving USA 2017: Charitable Giving in the U.S. Reaches $390 Billion


Giving by individuals, foundations, corporations and estates rose by 2.7 percent in 2016 (1.4 percent adjusted for inflation) to reach an all-time high of $390.05 billion, according to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016.

The rise in total giving was spurred largely by giving from individuals, which increased nearly 4 percent in 2016. Giving by individuals grew at a higher rate than the other sources of giving, outpacing giving by foundations and by corporations, and offsetting the sharp decline in bequests.

“Individual giving continued its remarkable role in American philanthropy in a year that included a turbulent election season that reflected a globally resurgent populism,” said Amir Pasic, Ph.D., the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “In this context, the absence of a dramatic change in giving is perhaps remarkable, but it also demonstrates the need for us to better understand the multitude of individual and collective decisions that comprise our record of national giving.”

Charitable Giving by Source

  • Giving by individuals totaled an estimated $281.86 billion, rising 3.9 percent (2.6 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2016.
  • Giving by foundations increased 3.5 percent (2.2 percent adjusted for inflation) to an estimated $59.28 billion in 2016. Data on foundation giving are provided by Foundation Center.
  • Giving by bequest totaled an estimated $30.36 billion in 2016, declining 9.0 percent (10.1 percent adjusted for inflation) from 2015.
  • Giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 3.5 percent (2.3 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2016, totaling $18.55 billion.

“In 2016, we saw something of a democratization of philanthropy,” said Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “The strong growth in individual giving may be less attributable to the largest of the large gifts, which were not as robust as we have seen in some prior years, suggesting that more of that growth in 2016 may have come from giving by donors among the general population compared to recent years.”

Long-Term Giving Factors

While the political climate may play a role in some donors’ decisions to give to charity, research conducted by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and others has long demonstrated that aggregate giving trends are influenced by large-scale economic factors. These factors ultimately affect the economic and financial circumstances of all types of donors and, therefore, their ability to give.

As an example of the link between the economy and charitable giving trends, giving by individuals has historically correlated with changes in such national-level economic indicators as personal consumption, disposable personal income and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. All of these factors are associated with households’ permanent and long-term financial stability.

In 2016, helping to increase giving by individuals and households, both personal consumption and disposable personal income grew by nearly 4 percent over 2015. The S&P 500 finished the year up 9.5 percent after uneven performance for much of 2016 and a mixed economic picture in 2015.

Charitable Giving to Recipients

2016 differed significantly from recent giving years, according to Una Osili, Ph.D., director of research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “While giving to arts, health and the environment experienced significant growth, giving to education saw relatively slower growth. In most years, giving to education, arts and culture and health organizations often experience similar changes in growth rates, but in 2016 arts and health giving are both notably higher than giving to education. Giving for international affairs also saw growth even though there were lower levels of giving for disaster relief.”

For just the sixth time in 40 years, giving to all charitable subsectors analyzed by Giving USA saw increases:

  • Giving to religion increased 3.0 percent (1.8 percent adjusted for inflation), with an estimated $122.94 billion in contributions.
  • Giving to education is estimated to have increased 3.6 percent (2.3 percent adjusted for inflation) to $59.77 billion.
  • Giving to human services increased by an estimated 4.0 percent (2.7 percent adjusted for inflation), totaling $46.80 billion.
  • Giving to foundations is estimated to have increased by 3.1 percent (1.8 percent adjusted for inflation), rising to $40.56 billion.
  • Giving to health organizations is estimated to have increased by 5.7 percent (4.4 percent adjusted for inflation), to $33.14 billion.
  • Giving to public-society benefit organizations increased by an estimated 3.7 percent (2.5 percent adjusted for inflation) to $29.89 billion.
  • Giving to arts, culture, and humanities is estimated to have increased 6.4 percent (5.1 percent adjusted for inflation) to $18.21 billion.
  • Giving to international affairs is estimated to be $22.03 billion in 2016, an increase of 5.8 percent (4.6 percent adjusted for inflation).
  • Giving to environment and animal organizations is estimated to have increased 7.2 percent (5.8 percent adjusted for inflation) to $11.05 billion.

About the Research

Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016, a publication of Giving USA Foundation, 2017, researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Source: Association of Fundraising Professionals International

Posted June 2017

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