Each year, fundraising industry and nonprofit professionals eagerly await the results of the prior year’s Giving USA data. This year’s report which covers U.S.giving trends for the year 2016 revealed yet again that individual donors make up the largest category of donors. While giving through bequests declined, the single largest factor contributing to the growth in giving was an increase in giving by individuals of $10.53 billion. Every charitable subsector – from religion to human services to arts and humanities – saw an increase in giving. The only subscector that had a decrease was giving to individuals.
What does this mean for your nonprofit? It reinforces the message that stewarding your individual donors should be your highest priority, and your time needs to be spent wisely – not on chasing that elusive large corporate gift without a relationship, and not applying for grants unless you are certain the grantmaker is a good fit for your organization. That’s not to say you shouldn’t work to obtain corporate gifts or grants. It just means that your time should be organized such that individual donors receive the greater proportion of your efforts. After all, it’s your relationships with your individual donors that could lead to opening doors to corporate gifts and even possibly to grantmaking foundations, right? Any way we look at it, it comes back to relationships with PEOPLE.