Charitable Giving Trends in 2010

The 2010 Cygnus Donor Survey is available, and shows improving trends for nonprofit giving.

The survey, which was begun in 2009 by Cygnus Applied Research, Inc.,  looked at how donors were contending with the severe economic recession. The findings became so important (not to mention interesting), that the project has continued as an annual snapshot of philanthropy and a forum for donors to express their views.

First the good news:
  • Giving increased in 2010. 41% of respondents gave more to charity last year than in 2009, while 39% gave the same. The trend towards giving more was especially evident in younger donors and those earning the highest incomes.
  • More than half of those surveyed supported the same number of nonprofits in 2010 as they did in 2009, but 26% supported more and only 15% supported fewer.
  • 48% of those surveyed gave at least one gift in response to a direct mail appeal.
And now the shifting trends:
  • Younger donors are giving to fewer charities than older donors.
  • Donors are conducting more research before making a gift.
  • Support is shifting to favor local charities.
  • Donors are choosing charities that provide measurable results.
  • Finally, donors are reducing support for charities that over-solicit (that is, sending another appeal before acknowledging and thanking the donor for the previous gift).
And we saved the best for last: 79% of donors expect to give the same - or more - this year, while only 7% said they would give less.

How will you use this information? For the complete survey visit

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