Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BIG’s Blog: The Philanthropy Pie Gets Divided Even More!

When we talk to groups around the country, we share three major drivers that are changing the world of fund raising today. They are: 1) a generational shift in donors, 2) the information technology revolution, especially in communications, and 3) the rise of competition in fund raising.

Almost invariably, it is a surprise to many in our audience that we focus on rising competition. In 1987, the IRS reported 420,000 501(c)3 nonprofit corporations. Ten years later in 1997, the number had grown to 690,000. By 2010, a mere 13 years later, the number had more than doubled to over 1.5 million.

According to a just published report by Blackbaud and the Hartsook Institute for Fund Raising entitled, Growing Philanthropy in the United States, charitable giving is estimated to be around two percent of average household disposable (after tax) income. And the authors point out that regrettably, this is also the 40-year average for this figure, indicating that, despite an increasing effort on the part of nonprofits, individuals today are no more generous than their predecessors more than four decades ago.

Well, get ready to divide up the pie even more.

A recent article by Marisa Lopez-Rivera for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, states that more than 12 million Americans, from 44 to 70 years old would like to start nonprofits or businesses that solve social problems. The new study by Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based think tank was supported by the MetLife Foundation and compiled by Penn Schoen Berland, a marketing research firm.


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