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Data Shows Philanthropy Not Confined to Cash

Donors who write checks have been vaporizing, at least in the United States, but numbers from GivingTuesday Data Commons show that 83.6% of people in seven regions of the world donated to others one way or another during 2022.

Some people donated their time. Some gave things they owned. Some gave their voices, advocating on behalf of a cause. Some gave money. “Remarkably, all over the world, most people (56%) gave in at least three of those ways,” according to authors of the new report “Rethinking Resilience: Insights From The Giving Ecosystem.” The report offers a look back at trends in global generosity during 2022.

Nearly six in 10 — 57% — of people tracked gave to all three recipient types monitored – formal charities, informal groups and individuals. Other revelations in the report include:

* Younger generations everywhere were more generous than older generations during 2022, giving more often and in more ways. Older generations still donate more dollars in some countries, but in others it is younger generations who are the most financially generous.

* There was a reduction in large donor results during the fourth quarter of 2022. Large donors are historically more responsive to economic downturns and the end of 2022 saw notable stock market declines.

* Within the United States, both donors and dollars were down in 2022, a situation not seen since 2010.

Data for the report came from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, India and Kenya. The United Kingdom data includes multiple nations. The researchers tracked acts of generosity including: any generosity, money, things/items, volunteerism, advocacy in some form, to formal nonprofits, to other organizations and to individuals.

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Kenya topped the list of people who gave during 2022 in any of the above categories at 98%, followed by India at 92%, Brazil at 85%, Mexico 79%, Canada 79%, the United Kingdom 77%, and the United States at 75%. According to Woodrow Rosenbaum, chief data officer of GivingTuesday, while giving cultures vary widely from country to country, there was more generosity within less wealthy countries — those with lower gross national income.

“Part of what we want people to understand is that a downturn in nonprofit fundraising is not inevitable. There is elasticity in the philanthropy ecosystem,” said Rosenbaum. The key is to engage people on multiple levels, he said.

The data crunchers discovered “just how diverse” donors are generationally. “It is incredibly complicated,” and younger people engaged in philanthropy “see no difference in giving to a political campaign and giving to charity,” said Rosenbaum. “The nature of behavior is quite complex,” he said.

Giving behaviors are also culturally dependent, with radically different giving ecosystems found in various places. In every country where people were surveyed, the vast majority donated through both formal and informal channels. The wealthiest countries had a significantly greater reliance on formal giving channels. Small donors were less responsive to economic shifts.

Kenyans and Indians volunteer at twice the rate of people in Europe and North America, though in all countries volunteering happens more often in unstructured community settings than in formal organizational ones, the data showed.

Within both Brazil and Mexico, the most active donors of money to registered charities are the youngest generation, Gen-Z (individuals born roughly between 1997 and 2012). A lot has to do with who is asked based on generational customs in those nations, the researchers found.

Rosenbaum admitted that the data still need refining. Five databases were used to put the report together and they were not necessarily asking the same questions. The databases used are: Growth In Giving Fundraising Data, 2022 USA Giving Survey, 2022 Global Omnibus Survey, Golden Volunteer Data and the 2022 GivingTuesday GivingPulse.

Rosenbaum said the data shows people “have to recognize issues we are seeing in fundraising in the United States is going to take some pretty urgent action … those who don’t silo development are going to be more successful.” He stressed that all elements of an organization are critical to fundraising and engagement. “They are not separate activities …. telling a story about your organization more broadly” will bring greater engagement, he said.

“Most people have very prolific behavior,” said Rosenbaum, and they must be given “more opportunity to join your mission.” Donors are “more resilient, diverse” meaning they need more ways to be made part of the mission.

This article was originally published at The NonProfit Times.

Paul Clolery

Paul Clolery is vice president and editorial director of NPT Publishing Group and The NonProfit Times, the leading business publication for the charitable, tax-exempt sector.