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501c Success Series with Rachel Hutchisson, Blackbaud – Generosity in 2020 and the Future Ecosystem of Good

Rachel Hutchisson feels hopeful about the future of generosity. As the keynote speaker at our last 501c Success National Speaker Series of 2020, Rachel closed out an unusual year on a high note.

As the VP of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy at Blackbaud, Rachel is responsible for leading the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts. She is also a Senior Advisor with the Blackbaud Institute – a separate entity within Blackbaud that produces data-driven research and insights provided at no cost to anyone within the social good community. And, Rachel is a member (and 2017-2019 Chair) of the Giving Institute, the parent organization of the Giving USA Foundation, which endeavors to advance philanthropy through research and education and produces the annual report on charitable giving in the United States, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. Rachel wears many hats in the world of philanthropy and social good, making her one of the leading experts on generosity and the eco-system of good.

As the keynote speaker at the Nonprofit Connect 501c Success National Speaker Series on October 27, 2020, Rachel offered insights on the current state of giving and perspectives on the future of generosity.

The Impacts on Giving in 2020

Typically, there are four major impacts on giving in a normal year – Economic, Political, Social and Natural. We experienced all four impacts in 2020 with the pandemic, food insecurity, unemployment, a historic election, natural disasters, and a conversation around racial equity happening nearly simultaneously.

Still, generosity remains strong in 2020. Although giving was down by 8.3% in March 2020, it had rebounded to +1.2% by June. The Blackbaud Index for the third quarter also shows strong growth indicating an even stronger fourth quarter.

What do We Know About Giving?

  • Giving is resilient – giving goes down during recessions, but it always rebounds, as we have already seen this year.
  • Major Donors Step Up During Hard Times – According to a Blackbaud Institute study, major donors give 40% more during recessions or difficult periods.
  • Political campaigns do not decrease giving to other causes – In fact, individuals who give to political campaigns are more generous overall.

What to Expect Going Forward?

Keeping all that in mind, it is unlikely we will view 2020 as a loss in terms of generosity and giving. We are still in disaster season, which causes huge spikes in giving. The fourth quarter also brings us Giving Tuesday – one of the biggest days of giving of the year – and year-end campaigns (1/5 of all giving occurs in December). Deadlines drive people to give, and organizations should use that year-end deadline to drive generosity.

Thank you to Rachel Hutchisson for sharing her knowledge and expertise with us on generosity and the eco-system of good. We hope it inspired you to make the most of what’s left of 2020. There is still a lot of work to do, and lots of potential to continue building a better world!

For more information about the Nonprofit Connect 501c Success National Speaker Series and our 2021 program, reach out to us at 

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