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Top 5 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Giving USA 2022

Giving USA is the most trusted annual report on the sources and uses of philanthropy in the United States, but it’s also a valuable resource in helping us improve philanthropy.  Nonprofit organizations can use Giving USA 2022 data to help identify trends as well as opportunities to strengthen their fundraising in the coming years. Case in point, Giving USA 2022 highlighted several important trends in philanthropy like:

  1. Total charitable giving in 2021 grew 4.0% over the revised total of $466.23 billion contributed in 2020.
  2. Giving to arts, culture and humanities is estimated to have increased 27.5% to $23.50 billion in a recovery year for the sector.
  3. Several subsectors that experienced strong growth in 2020, such as education and human services, did not fare as well in 2021. However, two year growth for these subsectors was over 5%, even when adjusting for inflation.
  4. Giving by individuals came to 67% of total giving due in part to “mega-gifts” ($15 billion in 2021) from individual donors. These very large gifts represent about 5% of all individual giving in 2021, and played an important role in lifting individual giving

Here are my Top Five Ways Nonprofits Can Use Giving USA to improve their fundraising:

  1. Understand the correlations between giving and economic factors
    The stock market, personal wealth, personal income, GDP, corporate pre-tax profits and unemployment rates impact giving by all four sources (individuals, foundations, bequests and corporations). Thanks to a strong year for the stock market and GDP, 2021 giving nearly kept pace with inflation following 2020’s record giving year and outpouring of support for the nonprofit sector. So, what will 2022 bring and how will that dictate fundraising strategies going forward?

The Takeaway: Be aware of changes in these indicators, anticipate how changes will impact donors and adjust fundraising strategies accordingly.

  1. Set realistic and achievable goals for 2022/2023
    Economic and political scenarios, complex societal issues, diverse giving platforms, wealth and capacity are just some of the drivers behind philanthropy. We got a taste of all of these scenarios in 2020 and 2021 and can see that they impacted who received funds and from whom. We can and should expect that all these drivers will play a role in philanthropic outcomes for 2022.

The Takeaway: Understand the context of these drivers, help manage expectations about giving and set realistic and achievable goals for 2022/2023.

  1. Educate Board members, volunteers, donors and staff about the broad context of philanthropic giving. Your constituents should understand how the data informs your decision making when it comes to fundraising.

The Takeaway: Help stakeholders better understand your organization’s funding patterns and potential.

  1. Be nimble in your fundraising and stewardship
    Nonprofit fundraising must evolve as philanthropy evolves.  We are seeing an increase in the popularity of non-traditional giving vehicles (such as donor-advised funds, grassroots fundraising, non-cash assets, cryptocurrency) and donors want more evidence of the impact of their gifts.

The Takeaway: Listen to your donors and prospective donors – and tailor your strategies to match their needs and expectations

  1. Recognize the power of the individual
    An estimated 95% of total giving in 2021 came from individuals, bequests and family foundations.

The Takeaway: There are human beings involved in every gift. Never stop focusing on developing and maintaining meaningful relationships.

About Giving USA
For more than 65 years, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy in America, has provided comprehensive charitable giving data that are relied on by donors, fundraisers and nonprofit leaders. The research in this annual report estimates all giving to charitable organizations across the United States. Giving USA is a public outreach initiative of Giving USA Foundation and is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Giving USA Foundation, established in 1985 by The Giving Institute, endeavors to advance philanthropy through research and education. Explore Giving USA products and resources at

About The Giving Institute
The Giving Institute, the parent organization of Giving USA Foundation, consists of member organizations that have embraced and embodied the core values of ethics, excellence and leadership in advancing philanthropy. Serving clients of every size and purpose, from local institutions to international organizations, The Giving Institute member organizations embrace the highest ethical standards and maintain a strict code of fair practices. For information on selecting fundraising counsel, visit

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