In a noteworthy event marking GivingTuesday, a key day for fundraising post-Thanksgiving, nonprofit GivingTuesday highlighted a total donation of $3.1 billion this year in the United States. However, amidst the financial surge, there’s a significant concern: a decrease of about 10% in the number of donors compared to the previous year.
The $3.1 billion figure represents a slight uptick of $20 million, signifying a 0.6% increase from the previous year before accounting for inflation. This estimate is derived from data pooled from donor management software, donation platforms, payment processors, and donor-advised funds, according to GivingTuesday.
Woodrow Rosenbaum, Chief Data Officer at GivingTuesday, expressed both appreciation and concern: “It’s remarkable to witness the collective impact as millions of Americans unite to support various causes within a 24-hour period. However, the decline in the number of donors is alarming.”
Rosenbaum highlighted the vital role played by both significant donors and grassroots supporters in fortifying the sector’s resilience and long-term stability. He emphasized the sector’s reliance on these diverse donor bases, citing the decline as a concerning trend.
This decline follows warnings from nonprofit organizations and industry groups about reduced donations this year, aligning with a decrease in overall charitable giving in 2022—only the fourth such decline in 40 years, as reported by Giving USA.
While the data portrays a concerning trend, it’s too early to predict whether end-of-year contributions will offset this decline in charitable giving. Elaine Kenig, Chief Communications Officer at Vanguard Charitable, underscored the significance of the year-end cycle, indicating that around 30% of total grant dollars from donor-advised funds are typically dispensed in the last two months of the year.
Kenig highlighted how traditional giving cycles align with events like GivingTuesday but also noted donors’ rapid response to urgent situations like the Maui wildfires.
Naomi Thompson, employed at a cancer charity in Northern Ireland, emphasized the importance of giving, especially when individuals feel financially constrained. She urged donors to consider the tangible impact of their contributions on their communities.
Notably, GivingTuesday’s estimates exclude donations to mutual aid groups, political organizations, or direct gifts to individuals. Despite the positive surge in average donations on GivingTuesday, Rosenbaum regarded it as a cautionary indicator rather than a celebratory milestone, hinting at potential challenges ahead for charitable organizations.