The Giving USA 2015 Report on Philanthropic Giving, the annual report on the state of philanthropy in the US, was released on June 16 from the Giving Institute. In our 4-part webcast series, GG+A experts weigh in on this year’s findings and their implications for development professionals and philanthropic management.
Below, GG+A Senior Vice President and Managing Director Laurie Musgrove looks at giving trends in Education.
+ + + + +
“You can’t turn development on and off. There has to be a sustained investment in staff and in resources and of course a willingness of leadership — both institutional leadership, campus leadership, and volunteers — to be active participants.”
– Laurie Musgrove
Education received about 15% of all charitable contributions last year, according to the Giving USA 2015 Report on Philanthropic Giving, for a total of about $54.6 billion dollars — increasing each year over the last 40 years and reaching a record high, even when adjusted for inflation.
Individual giving continues to represent the largest group of contributors to the non-profit sector, representing four out of every five dollars when bequests are included, data from the Giving USA 2015 report indicates. While real dollars continue to go up across every category, however, the proportionate distribution of those dollars has held relatively steady over time, notes Laurie Musgrove, GG+A Senior Vice President and Managing Director.
Yet a stronger economy, higher profits, and a robust stock market have also produced a significant jump in gifts made by corporations since 2012, Musgrove notes – nearly $18 billion last year, up about 14% over 2013 and 3.2% from 2012.
For advancement leaders in higher education, deciding where to focus development resources — whether on foundation and corporate donors or individuals – depends on the “philosophy of major and principal gift officers about how to best maximize contributions.”
To attract corporate support, an institution’s leadership must “be a partner in developing a reputation and articulation of the case or niche that may be of interest and align closely with the funding priorities of the corporate entity.”
Building the case for support is critical, she adds. “Are you defining the impacts that will result from a philanthropic investment in such a way that the donor feels it’s an opportunity for them to make a difference?”
That approach is equally relevant for attracting major gifts from individual donors. Offering the appropriate vehicles for making those gifts, such as lifetime giving along with planned or deferred giving, is a core strategy for any program or campaign.
To engage donors, Musgrove provides a checklist of questions for developing a successful major gifts program:
- + Are we credible?
- + Does the donor have an opportunity to make a difference?
- + Have we defined impact and return on investment?
- + How does our institution/approach/program/campaign differ from others?
- + How confident is the donor of the business plan?
Whatever the institution’s big vision, “you still need to demonstrate how you’ll get from point A to B.”
Tune in to our other webcasts on the Giving USA 2015 report: