The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) has issued its latest quarterly report showing that charitable giving increased dramatically in the third quarter of 2018 after a sluggish first half of the year. The FEP’s 2018 Third Quarter Report compares fundraising year-to-date in 2018 to the same time period in 2017. The information from the report is based on the Growth in Giving Database, which includes more than 18,000 organizations and $72 billion in donations since 2005.
For the first half of 2018, nearly every metric the FEP measured was lower significantly compared to 2017, including number of donors, total revenue from giving and donor retention rates. While the same is mostly true in the third quarter, one metric improved significantly: total revenue. While total revenue was down 2.1% at mid-year, giving totals are now ahead 2.6% of 2017 figures after the third quarter.
The reason for the increase? Revenue from major gifts ($1,000 and up) increased significantly. Revenue from this group in 2018 was behind year-to-date figures by -2.1% at mid-year. But after the third quarter, revenue from this group is up 3.1%. In contrast, revenue from general donors ($249 and under) and mid-level donors ($250 - $999) remains behind 2017 levels of giving.
The total numbers of donors so far in 2018 is down 4.3% compared to 2017. The only group of donors that has increased in terms of numbers is Repeat Retained Donors (those that have been giving to the same organization for two years in a row), up 0.9% from 2017. Numbers in other groups of donors, including New Donors (first time giving to an organization); New Retained Donors (new donors giving for a second consecutive year to the same organization); and Recaptured Donors (donors who stopped giving to an organization, then resumed giving this year), continue to trail significantly behind 2017 numbers.