Giving USA 2015 Report - Trends in Arts & Culture

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 Suzanne Hilser-Wiles looks at giving trends in Arts and Culture. 

Listen to the full webcast with Suzanne Hilser-Wiles (interviewed by GG+A’s Ed Sevilla).

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Arts, Culture, and Humanities organizations received $17 billion in contributions in 2014, about 5% of the overall share, according to the Giving USA 2015 Annual Report on Philanthropy.  While the proportion of dollars received by non-profit institutions in this category has remained stable over time, the total dollars are at an all-time high, even when accounting for inflation.

Giving USA 2015 - A&C contributions 1974-2014

“Arts and cultural organizations have rebounded significantly over the last two years,” notes Suzanne Hilser-Wiles, GG+A Senior Vice President and Managing Director. “It’s not surprising when you consider that giving to these organizations decreased more dramatically than it did to other sectors…and the rebound from the downturn in the economy was a little slower for these organizations.

“Finally, we are seeing them catch up and do better than they were pre-recession.”

Key Points

Hilser-Wiles notes some growing trends in fundraising strategies for Arts and Culture organizations:

Expansion of the donor pool. “There is much more emphasis on seeking out gifts beyond their trustees,” notes Hilser-Wiles.

More reliance on data to identify potential major donors. “More organizations are using analytics to look at their subscriber base and identify and cultivate those who could be major donors but who they haven’t engaged in that way previously. There’s a real opportunity to do that now.”

Development of more programs that appeal to donors. “There is also more emphasis on stewardship, reporting, and finding ways to get annual giving donors interested in major gifts by developing a thoughtful list of gift opportunities and programs that will attract these new donors.”

Listen to the full webcast with Suzanne Hilser-Wiles (interviewed by GG+A’s Ed Sevilla).

Download Giving USA 2015 – GG+A Slideshow on Arts & Culture

Tune in to our other webcasts on the Giving USA 2015 report:

GG+A’s Martin Grenzebach on overall trends in Philanthropy

GG+A’s Laurie Musgrove on giving trends in Education

GG+A’s G. Robert Alsobrook on giving trends in Healthcare

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About the author

Suzanne Hilser-Wiles


Suzanne Hilser-Wiles, President, partners with GG+A clients around the globe to help them elevate their fundraising by offering more than 25 years of experience in advancement, program building, and campaign planning and implementation. Throughout her career, she has helped design, rebuild, and reimagine programs by applying her experience with a…