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Philanthropic Giving Towards Education Keeps Growing

Giving to education has a huge gain in the year-round philanthropic giving, per the third edition of The Philanthropy Outlook. The trend suggests the growth will continue in 2017- 2018. Donor behavior seems to be the major factor propagating the trend. How do modern donors give? What motivates them and how does that behavior change how development teams plan their asks?

Donating to higher education has increased in particular via online giving. Both private and public institutions have witnessed successful fundraising campaigns.

In the recent years philanthropists in America have shown a growing interest in supporting education in the country. In fact, education was indicated as a priority for the philanthropic community. More and more charitable contributions are made to better education by training teachers, funding schools, inventive education programs and other likewise initiatives.  Many people find it critical to support higher education, private K-12 schools, libraries and many more educational institutes. In 2014, about 15 per cent of the total charitable donations in America were made to educational organizations. Not only was it an increase in the donation to education but also propelled education sector to be the second largest recipient of charitable giving in America.

The study finds that giving to education includes all cash and non-cash donations from itemizing and non-itemizing U.S. households to U.S. education charities, including institutions of higher education, private K-12 schools, vocational schools, libraries, educational research and policy, and many other types of organizations serving an educational purpose.

According to the report, giving to education will be higher in 2017 and 2018. The current projections predict it to be higher than it has been in the previous ten years. It will still be lower than the previous twenty-five and forty-year average. Giving to education is predicted to increase by 6.3% in 2017 and 6.0% in 2018.

Here are some of the factors that will significantly affect giving to education institutions in the year 2017 and 2018:

  • GDP growing above the average
  • Expenses of education services incurred by the consumer increasing in the coming year
  • Consumer’s expenditure on health

These three factors will be responsible for the majority increase in donating to education in coming years. How a charity grows also depends on the previous growth in specific economic variables. Other factors affecting giving to education in 2017-2018 include recreation services, nonprofit service output, healthcare services and rate of consumption.

With the increase in the giving to education another equally growing phenomenon are fundraising campaigns between the institutions of higher educations that are continuously growing and becoming billion-dollar endeavors. These campaigns provide philanthropists an opportunity to give and in a generous way, which otherwise will be hard to come about. This only means that there is a direct relation between the increase in a number of these fundraising campaigns and increase in donations. If such campaigns continue in 2017 and 2018 it will only give more opportunity for the people to donate to education.

HISTORICAL ANNUALIZED AVERAGES FOR GIVING

Graph_education

Charitable giving to education is expected to increase as a percentage of total giving, from an estimated 15% in 2014 to 17% in 2018.

These data are drawn from historical giving data found in Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015. Data are adjusted for inflation to 2015 dollars.

Donors these days seek more control of their philanthropic interests. Each and every year donors are getting more intelligent about how and where their money goes to.  Many fundraising campaigns are hence based on donor-centric behavior. Understanding what drives donors today will help improve and build strong sentiments for fundraisers in future.

How To Evaluate Your Online Giving Solutions

Every year we get a little close to going digital. Just think of it – media is digital, cameras are digital and so is the retail. According to the most recent survey by the Giving Institute more and more donors give online. So, it is important for churches to adapt to these changes too and give their members the option of .

Online payment process

As you think giving an online options for your donors try these three electronic payment types, see what your church members think:

  1. Through their credit card
  2. Electronic Fund Transfer for recurring donation
  3. Automated Clearing House

Evaluating an e-giving solution

As there are numerous programs that offer the service of online-giving, a church should be cautious as to what solution they choose for their congregation.

Here are a few points to remember as you choose the right program:

  1. The frequency of giving: Is the program able to give multiple options for fund transfers? Are there any schedules for recurring donations? The donor should be capable of linking their bank accounts for donation capability with weekly, biweekly or monthly automatic fund deduction capability. Donating frequently should be made easy.
  2. Easy to pledge options: Will the donor be able to pledge an amount for donation and then the payment for the pledge is scheduled over a certain period of time? Can the donor make a down payment on the pledge? Will he/she be able to make a down payment from one account and then charge the rest to another account?
  3. Confidentiality preference: Will a donor be able to remain anonymous?
  4. The process of transaction: What is the duration of the process of fund transfer? How much time does it take for the money to go from donor’s account to bank’s account? How much time does the application processing take these data? And what and how much fee is charged for the process?
  5. Security: Does the program comply with the guidelines of a safe transaction?
  6. PCI compliance
  7. 128-bit secure browser connection for safe data handling
  8. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for information encryption.
  9. End to end data management. Donor’s card details and account information should be discreet. There should be no third party involved in handling the fund transfer.
  10. Price: When buying any product or service the top concern is the cost. Many service providers give unrealistic promises of the increase in the number of online participants in given number of year. But such predictions hardly meet their promise and are very misleading. Much of their charging fees is unexpected and can greatly hamper the collection capability of a church. Fees that are related to the size of the church or factors like how many already are giving and how many will readily switch to online giving, all these matters greatly when you are choosing a software solution. Hidden fees can bury the church in expenses that will make the service exorbitant.
  11. Advertising: Will the vendor also provide the service of promotion? Often the staff at church is not ready to encourage people to donate beyond the walls of the church. So asking the church members to become interested in the new online giving method will require some assistance. You will need a service provider who will help in launching and promoting the program. Many a time the participation in online giving can see a sudden spike but then slows and falls down gradually. The program should be capable analyse giving habits and advise long-term strategies for donation collection.

Online giving should be promoted in every way possible even to members who aren’t that frequent to church. Promoting online giving can be a hard task if the attendance lays low throughout the year. Integration with any social platform can greatly boost exposure of the new giving habit to other members. Attracting potential donors has to be a constant effort. It is imperative to look into expenses of these promotions before you decide on a service provider.

  1. Information: Will the reports of online contribution be available, and in what form? Will the integration of information be automated to enable transfer of data to donation management software? An efficient bookkeeper tracks the donor by funds donated to measure the effective way of using a program. But if the data handling is too complicated a person can falter and margin of error becomes bigger. Also, it shouldn’t be too overwhelming so as to teach a new staff member. The service provider should offer teaching tools and train to help the church staff in organizing data in the most efficient way.
  2. Updates: The vendor should provide frequent updates to keep pace with the changing habits of the donors and to sync with the collection strategies of the churches. The program should be up-to-date and have the most contemporary functionalities. If the application for mobile phones is available then it should provide flexible payment methods and easy donation process. As more people are using smartphones these days, online finance option is now steadily being used by people. Every detail ranging from likeability and functionality of the application to the security provided should be updated as frequently as possible to adhere to changes in need and demand. This will help in maximizing participation in online giving.

Just like you would go to a store to get your groceries, so should you go online to reach your donors for charitable giving.  By going where your donors are you are increasing the likelihood of engaging them not just for that collection, but for recurring long-term charitable relationship. Online giving should be a top priority on your long list of things to do. But remember, we are here to help make your fundraising effort easier. Talk to us by leaving a comment below!

Individual Giving Sets a New Record in 2016 Giving USA Study Reports

Americana sets  a new individual giving record in 2016, according to Giving USA Annual Report on Philanthropy released June 13, 2017.  It has been the fifth time in the history of their research that non-profits have experienced an increase in the amount of donors. With a major leap in individual donors, the amount of donation diverted to religion is also greater.

With 32% of the total donation amount gone to religious establishments, religious charities have become one of the major non-profits in America today. Last year alone donations made to religious institutions came up to almost a hundred and twenty-three billion dollars, which is an increase of 3% since last year. It’s is the highest amount ever in the history of this research, even with the inflation adjustment. It is the sixth consecutive year that the religious philanthropy has seen an increase. However, on a closer look, it isn’t as great as one would assume. In the five-year average growth in this category, it has been the slowest growth year in comparison to all other categories.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.32.14 AM

Institutions coming in the religious category are congregations houses of worship, national religious entities, and missionary societies. But the drop in the average growth in the religious donations in these institutions are broadly based on two factors.

Related: Individual Giving On the Rise |  Charitable Giving Statistics 2017

Donor Behaviour

Memberships of churches and synagogues has seen an overall decline. The number of people who used to go to church weekly has also declined in the recent years. There are fewer people in the country who make a donation to their house of worship to strengthen their relationship with it.

Donation Accounting Methodology

Per the report findings, the major concern in general census is that the method of accounting in these religious institutions for religious giving is not as contemporary as it could be. The traditional method of bookkeeping and basic computation power might be making the donation management a bit exhausting task. The methodology for the accounting can be improved.

There are still some variations in the results of the report. For example, if a hospital foundation, even if it has religious affiliation, will still be counted in healthcare.

Giving USA Foundation has been investing resources to improve the approach of religious non-profits in attracting and maintaining its donors. If the current methodology of accounting is improved upon a lot more clear result can be procured.

In religious category total giving is spurred largely by individuals. For the start, the donor-receiver relationship matters more than just the numbers in the value of donations, and thus should be a priority concern.

Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy was released to the public at 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

Individual Giving On the Rise | Charitable Giving Statistics 2017

Americans gave $390.05 billion setting a record in giving to various non-profits all across America, states Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy.
All donor types, except the bequest category, increased since last year. The total growth in charitable giving has increased 2.7 %, though many acknowledge it as a moderate growth. Even though there was a drop in mega gifts of more than $200 million, the collective donations by individual donors have gone up 3.9%. The smaller amounts still made it to be the majority of the donations and the individual donors made up to 72% of the donors.
According to the Giving USA Report, American philanthropy has seen its third consecutive year of growth. And with the increasing number of generous donors, there is only a positive growth in years to come.

Related: Individual Giving Sets a New Record in 2016 Giving USA Study Reports

The infographic below, created by The Giving USA, The Giving Institute illustrates the numbers and giving trends by sub sectors.

Giving-USA-2017-Infographic

About Giving USA.

Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy is the longest-running and most comprehensive report on charitable giving in the United States. The annual report of 2017 was released on 13th June.

importance of mobile donation

WHY IS ACCEPTING ONLINE DONATIONS ESSENTIAL TODAY?

If you want to grow and reach as many people as possible, your presence on the internet is essential. The more you want to grow your organization, the greater your web presence should be Making a simple website, or having accounts on social networks are not enough.

The advancement of crowdfunding and ease of making online donations should allow you to put yourself forward, and raise funds. 

Here are some of the top reasons why you should collect online:

  • The Internet affects all generations

Don’t assume that your organization won’t have online giving adopters just because you have more elderly donors currently. People ages 65+ are the fastest adopters of the internet – many of them use Facebook, Facetime, and Skype to communicate with their grandchildren and family.

Several years ago, few people trusted entering their credit card numbers on the Internet. Today, thanks to all the security offered by banks, card companies, and providers by the means of online payments, you can enter your bank details without fear. 

  • It’s easier for donors

Online giving is certainly a time-saver for your organization, but it’s also easier for the donors. Many people are turning to the internet to manage their finances, and so make it easy for them – let them give to your nonprofit in the same way! Additionally, allowing them to give when convenient for them makes is easier. They don’t have to wait until your office is open – then can give whenever and wherever.

  • This allows you to collect more

Enabling payment online allows donors a wide choice of payment methods, and thus encourages them. The more choices they have, the more the giving becomes simple for your donors, and the more likely he is they are to give!

  • Online collection can be communicated

Once your organization has traction with online giving, it’s important to broadcast and communicate that online – through social media, email and your website. Platforms like GiveCentral.org can help your staff communicate your successes faster, giving them more time to promote your mission!

Mobile Giving

The Age of Convenience

It’s the age of convenience. Everything – in every category imaginable – is geared toward making things easier and more convenient. We have a need for speed and ease!Today, we rely on the internet for just about everything: news, shopping, banking, socializing, and much, much more. Quick and easy is the name of the game in our increasingly online-focused world. Having instant – and seamless – access has become an ingrained part of our culture. As such, your donors expect the same level of ease and accessibility from your organization that they find elsewhere… and all from the palm of their hand.Regardless of where donors spend their hard-earned money – ordering groceries online, e-shopping, downloading music, paying bills electronically or supporting a worthy cause – donors are primed for and – quite honestly, expect – hassle-free online buying experiences. I know I do!To help ensure your supporters have a great giving experience, try these tips:

Make it mobile friendly.

Donors are on the go. Ensure you are optimized for mobile giving so donors can give anytime, anywhere, from any device. (more…)

GiveCentral Go Mobile App Donation

How Mobile Donations are Transforming the Giving Industry

by Stacey Kiran

Giving is evolving – and mobile is at the forefront

Now that we’re in 2015, it’s getting hard to remember a time before mobile phones. Odds are you might even be reading this blog post on a mobile device. Mobile donations refers to donating to an organization through a mobile device.

According to Pew Research, 90% of American adults own a mobile phone.That’s pretty incredible.We’re performing tasks on our devices that we wouldn’t have dreamed of performing just five years ago. But these ubiquitous devices have become our go-to choice for quick, convenient transactions.

Mobile donations could unlock huge potential in the market for small and big organizations. We recently wrapped up our 2015 Nonprofit Giving Survey Report with predictions for nonprofit giving. In it, participating organizations spoke loudly—they are ready for mobile. Right now only 6 percent receive mobile donations, but 23 percent are able to measure mobile payment processing and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) would embrace real-time donor transactions.In that same survey report, 84 percent of respondents believe their staff generally embraces technology change. You’re ready to start accepting mobile donations, now it’s just time to start. Here are three ways mobile is poised to transform donor giving and make a real impact on your organization:

  1. Mobile giving can actually reduce overhead. New technology doesn’t always have to be expensive. In fact, mobile giving can be one of the most cost efficient methods. With our GiveCentral tool, 98 to 99 percent of the donations go directly to the charity, with donated funds automatically debited from donor accounts. That’s an 8 to 9 percent increase in funds direct to charity versus the traditional mobile giving model.
  1. Mobile giving makes it easy to give. Donors (new and existing) are on their mobile devices, but they’re also on social media, they’re at home on the phones, they’re reading their email. The point of mobile giving isn’t that it’s replacing traditional giving methods, but that it’s ensuring you are where your donors want you to be. It’s an “and” world right now, not an “or” world—be everywhere your donors are, and they’re more likely to give. Mobile can also enable you to stay more connected to donors. On average, recurring donors give 42 percent more per year than one-time donors. Your donors are on their mobile phones—stay with them.
  1. Mobile makes it easy to receive. Without a doubt, enabling mobile giving will make it easier for your donors to give, and (hopefully) give often. But it can also make receiving significantly easier for your organization. GiveCentral Go is revolutionizing how organizations accept credit card donations during events. For example, auctions and other nonprofit events can be massive affairs—months or years of planning come down to a perfectly execution. GiveCentral Go provides a simple, quick interface for giving at your events, plus a simple system for receiving and processing donations. Your smartphone serves as the hub with encrypted transactions sent securely from your device and synced to your GiveCentral account. Receipts are automatically emailed to donors.

Want to learn how mobile giving can fit into your organization? Email me directly at stacey@givecentral.org and we’ll walk through it together.

GiveCentral Survey Report: 2015 Predictions for Nonprofit Giving

The Times, They are a Changin’ – New Survey Report on Technology and Nonprofit Giving

by Bridget Mayer

New Nonprofit Giving Survey: 2015 Predictions for Nonprofit Giving

Communication and Technology Adoption Key to the Future of Donor Management

front cover of the GiveCentral 2015 "Predictions for Nonprofit Giving" Survey ReportChange is practically synonymous with a new year and this rings true for nonprofit organizations in 2015. The next few weeks and months are a time for fresh fundraising strategies and an overall penchant to shake things up.Technology is one area in particular that is driving forward change within nonprofits of all shapes and sizes, regardless of the industry. Here at GiveCentral, we’re constantly striving to learn more about technology’s transformative effect on donor giving and how organizations are responding to the digital age’s influence. Whether it be how mobile technology is mixing things up or how donor management tools have changed, it’s important to us to stay on top of the latest trends.We recently conducted a proprietary survey among more than 80 nonprofit senior executives, including senior religious leaders, Chief Executives, Chief Financial Officers and development managers across a wide range of nonprofit organizations. We wanted to identify the best donor management practices and understand the biggest giving-related challenges and opportunities that nonprofits will face in 2015.You can download the full report here. What we found in our inaugural report, 2015 Predictions for Nonprofit Giving, was both enlightening and encouraging. Senior executives of nonprofits recognize there are many challenges ahead—from the increasing level of competition for donors to the pressure of technological change. The good news, however, is that they are preparing for the future.A few statistics in particular stuck out to us as we dove into the data, including the importance of effective donor communication to engage with donors, how donors are becoming more comfortable with online giving and the need for increased technology education. Below, I’ve outlined these findings.To ensure your organization is positioned to increase its donations in 2015, please check out the full report for a comprehensive look at the current nonprofit giving environment.

Lack of Communication Puts Donor Relations at Risk

Many nonprofit executives reveal that the greatest barrier to donor engagement and giving is a lack of communication.

  • Despite 84 percent of respondents reporting their organization embraces technology change, more than one-quarter (27 percent) do not have a formal email communication schedule in place and only 10 percent send weekly donor emails.
  • One-quarter (26 percent) still rely on weekly printed newsletters. As a result, nonprofit senior executives are leaving many opportunities on the table to communicate and engage with donors to build stronger relationships and increase giving.

Donor Fear of Technology Diminishing

Nonprofit senior executives said that although they still face some hesitation from donors when it comes to technology, more and more are becoming comfortable with digital channels.

  • 84 percent of nonprofits recognize the importance of catering to a new generation of donors and embrace technology change.
  • Only one-in-ten nonprofits retain fully manual donation processing, demonstrating the prevalence of technological advances in giving programs.

Donor Education is Key to Embracing Technology Change

While donors are becoming more comfortable with the idea of technology change, increased education is needed to close the gap. At the same time, organizations are confident their donors can move past the perceived complexity of online giving programs.

  • Nearly half (49 percent) of survey respondents said their donors don’t understand online giving.
  • Yet, only 12 percent of respondents say online giving technology is too complex for their organization to use.

As you usher in 2015’s changes and begin to prepare for the years down the road, we’re hopeful that the donor giving information in this survey from nonprofit leaders is valuable to your organization. Whether it’s gaining a small piece of insight, finding comfort that you’re on track for technology’s demands or even realizing you are behind the digital curve when it comes to nonprofit giving, please let us know what you thought of the survey results in the comments below.Wait, there’s more!To confirm you are positioned to increase your donations in 2015, please contact me at bridget@givecentral.org to schedule an analysis of your donor management practices.

GiveCentral's tradeshow booth before the opening of NCDC 2013

Developing a Winning Conference Participation Strategy

by Bridget Mayer, Director of Business Development at GiveCentralNow that the seasons have officially changed, many of us have started to enjoy fall’s perennial offerings, including cooler temperatures, beautiful changing leaf colors and of course, a caramel apple or two.Fall also ushers in a very busy time of year for more than just pumpkin patches. For nonprofit and religious administration managers, along with many leaders at for-profit businesses, the start of autumn marks the start of the busy conference season. Many of us will travel near and far to attend annual gatherings over the next several months, juggling the responsibilities of our day jobs with the inherent craziness of conference participation.Developing a winning conference participation strategy is key to ensuring you take full advantage of all the conference’s benefits. Here at GiveCentral, we’ve spent last week connecting with industry colleagues new and old at the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference (DFMC) and are busy preparing for National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) which starts October 4th.Since we’re in the thick of it, we wanted to share some advice on developing a winning conference strategy to help you make the most out of your conference participation:Identify your goals before you arrive You need to choose the conferences that will give you and your business the best ROI in terms of your goals. It’s important to come prepared with established participation goals and that your any participants from your organization understand these goals.

What do you want to get out of the conference? How many leads/connections are you looking to generate? Are you focusing on promotion/branding or do you have a product to demo?

You can have more than one goal, of course, but the point is that you need to be clear about what your participation in the conference is going to achieve. Determine what your ROI would be—if one new customer helps you justify you being at the event, then focus on connecting with as many participants as possible in order to unearth and connect with that customer.For example, many of the attendees at DFMC are finance and accounting-focused professionals who are focused on learning how to best cut down the costs associated with managing their organization’s capital campaigns. We looked to connect with the attendees to inform them about how, without breaking the bank, our electronic giving systems allows users to get comprehensive donor functionality to easily:

  • Manage donor relations
  • Access donation activity
  • Run reports/managing donor accounts
  • Send and manage donor communications

In the booth, we conducted live demonstrations of our GiveCentral Go technology, our easy-to-use card reader for mobile devices, which is perfect for off-site donor events. In addition, for those that received our pre-conference email, made a donation to Catholic Relief Services and visited our booth, we gladly matched their gift right there in the booth using GiveCentral Go!

GiveCentral's tradeshow booth before the opening of NCDC 2013
Our booth at NCDC 2013 – pardon our old tagline!

For the upcoming NCDC, our focus will be to connect development directors whose priorities differ from a CFO. Tending to be the end users and executors of the ins and outs of giving programs, their goals are zoned in on how they can best save time with giving logistics and enhance their programs—both of which are right up GiveCentral’s alley!Carve out time to build connectionsBuilding personal relationships are a key benefit of conference participation. Conferences are ripe for connecting with potential customers, but it’s also a time to build on the relationships you already have. If you know people that you want to reconnect with or get to know better who will be attending—clients, vendors, friends-of-friends—reach out a few weeks before the conference to set up a time to meet for coffee or a meal while you’re at the event.That’s what we did for DFMC. These one-on-one conversations allow us the opportunity to understand donor needs and to talk about how GiveCentral has worked with hundreds of church and diocesan offices as well many non-profit organizations to help them meeting that challenge via electronic giving.Friendly follow-upRemember that the conference doesn’t end with the closing session. In fact, in most cases this is when the important relationship building and sales work starts. You need to keep your business at the front of your prospects’ minds by staying in touch after the event. This increases the chance of converting your leads into sales.Following DFMC, we’ll be following up with all the great connections we made via personal emails, phone call and/or face-to-face meetings. We’ll also be looking to share a copy of our upcoming survey GiveCentral: 2015 Predictions for Giving which is set to launch in early October. Our goal with the survey is to better understanding donor giving preferences and the role technology increasingly plays in non-profit donations. Once launched, the survey will be accessible from our home page at www.givecentral.org.Pay it forwardYou gained a lot of new information, inspiration and contacts at the conference, now it’s time to share the knowledge with fellow colleagues, prospects and clients. For example, send clients and prospects, especially if they couldn’t make the conference, links to session videos or presentations you thought were particularly valuable. This knowledge share is a great value-add to any relationship.No matter what your fall schedule has in store for you, we hope this advice on developing a winning conference participation strategy proves valuable. And if you’re headed to NCDC, we look forward to seeing you!