Linda Garrison, CFRE, Senior Consultant, WealthEngine

Hot off the press, the newly released Giving USA 2017 draws a line in the philanthropic sand: Of the $390.5 billion given to philanthropy in 2016, nearly 88% of that came from individuals in the form of outright gifts, gifts from family foundations, and planned gifts.

The single largest factor in giving growth was an increase of $10.53 billion in giving by individuals.

That’s astounding.

And it’s exactly why your organization needs to immediately invest in – at the minimum – a wealth screening of your database.  You need to know who you have in there, and who your donors are who could afford to give you more. Without wealth intelligence, many of your best donors will fall by the wayside, perhaps wondering why you never asked them for a more significant investment.

Knowledge truly is power.

Additionally, Giving USA 2017 noted that giving to religion, education, human services, health, public-society benefit, arts/culture/humanities, international affairs and the environment or animal-related causes all experienced a significant uptick, with giving to religion showing a 32% increase. Education and human services received less than half that, with a 15% and 12% jump, respectively. Giving to foundations, including community foundations managing donor advised funds, as well as to family foundations, increased by 10%.

Each charitable subsector grew in 2016 except for giving to individuals, with growth rates ranging from 3% to 7%. Of note, environmental and animal-related causes experienced a 7.2% increase in giving, the largest gain of any philanthropic subsector.

Wealth screening is a core part of our business and now is the time to do it. Your organization can reap the rewards of growing philanthropy prior to the great wealth transfer between Boomers and Millennials.

Giving USA 2017 is produced collaboratively by the Giving USA Foundation™, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute, and The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

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