Nonprofit Leaders to Set Recommendations for Growing US Philanthropy

Thirty-six leading U.S.-philanthropy experts, including nonprofit leaders, technology suppliers and consultants, and associations, recently gathered to discuss how the nonprofit sector can work together to grow the level of individual giving by Americans. The Growing Philanthropy Summit, held recently in Washington D.C., was sponsored by Blackbaud, Inc. and SHartsook Companies and was hosted by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

“We believe it is possible to significantly grow the level of individual philanthropy in the United States,” said Adrian Sargeant, professor of fundraising at Indiana. “While over $290 billion dollars was given to good causes in 2010, individual donors are no more generous now than when data was first collected some 40 years ago. Despite the increasing professionalization of fundraising, the rapid growth in global wealth in the 1990s, developments in electronic/mass communications, and new financial mechanisms that facilitate fundraising, giving has been largely unmoved, remaining static at around 2 percent.”

The Summit focused on how to grow giving by enhancing the quality of the donor experience. The next step will be to generate a series of recommendations and to secure the assistance of key audiences, including foundations, nonprofit boards and legislators, among other groups, to actively move them forward.

A report detailing the recommendations will be released in September with plans for how each idea should be implemented and the metrics that might be used to ensure both implementation and impact.