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Report Shows Donors Drop by 7% While Giving Amount Increases 6.2%

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Although U.S. charitable donations continued to increase significantly in the second quarter of 2022, the number of new donors who stay and continue to give continues to decline. As a result, according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s (FEP) Second Quarter Fundraising Report, organizations are reevaluating how to get and keep donors engaged.

The giving data shows donor counts are down roughly 7%, driven by a new donor acquisition and retention downturn. 

However, giving amounts are up, primarily due to increased giving by major donors, although this increase of 6.2% is lower than the Q2 inflation rate of approximately 8.5%.

The report said that despite the downturn in retention, fundraising increased thanks to a boost in recapture rates (people who donated sometime in the past but not last year). In addition, regained and newly retained donors, which had dropped in Q1, rose moderately and stabilized in Q2. 

That segment may include recaptured COVID donors or the return of pre-COVID donors who paused their giving during the pandemic. With new and newly retained donor counts dropping steeply for the fourth consecutive quarter and the high organizational dropout rate during this same period, the COVID era in the charitable giving sector continues to unfold in complex and challenging ways.

The pandemic led to an increase in donors, yet the current state of the economy has prompted donors to carefully weigh their recurring contributions. Proportionally, the report shows a 7.4% drop in retention last year, followed by a further reduction of 5.2% through the second quarter of 2022.

“The increase in fundraising dollars can be largely attributed to recaptured donors—those who contributed again after not doing so last year,” Lori Gusdorf, CAE, executive vice president of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy, commented on the report. “Organizations could reap considerable benefits by ensuring they stay relevant for this group through consistent solicitation and outreach activities.”

Organizations are rethinking their touchpoints and relationship blueprints to attract long-term donors to their mission. With donors evaluating their financial commitments, many organizations are broadening their grassroots engagement and constructing ways to invest in relationships. 

The FEP releases quarterly findings on those giving trends released via downloadable reports.

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Jessica Eturralde

Jessica Eturralde is a military wife of 18 years and mother of three who serves as a freelance writer, TV host, and filmmaker. Bylines include Yahoo, Huffington Post, OC16TV.