Charitable Giving Up in Third Quarter

The latest monthly report on charitable giving shows an increase for the third quarter of 2013.

Based on data from 3,828 charities that raised more than $12 billion in the prior 12 months, The Blackbaud Index reported that overall charitable giving grew 2.3 percent for the three months ending October 2013, as compared to the same period in 2012.

Among 3,097 charities that raised nearly $1.7 billion online in the prior 12 months, online giving grew 9.9 percent in the same three-month period, as compared to the same period in 2012.

“This year has been a better year for the nonprofit sector than it has been in a number of years,” said Chuck Longfield, Blackbaud’s chief scientist and creator of the Index. “Giving is very dependent on the stock market, which is at an all-time high. With the improving economy, some of the uncertainty has been removed. People tend to donate more when they feel wealthier, and the stock market helps with that.”

Revenue grows for faith-based organizations

Overall fundraising revenue for 334 churches, synagogues, and other faith-based organizations that represent nearly $1.2 billion in annual revenue grew 3.5 percent in the three months ending October 2013, as compared to the same period in 2012.

Online giving at 202 congregations and other faith-based groups that raised a total of more than $110 million over 12 months grew 16.7 percent during the same period.

Blackbaud also released a report today focused on charitable giving trends in the faith-based sector, featuring interviews with fundraising consultants from Dunham+Company and Giving Matters.

Compared to fundraising data on other nonprofit sectors, data on giving to faith-based organizations can be tough to estimate because of the inconsistent and varying data-collection practices of congregations.

Longfield said the new faith-based index, which is based on fundraising data from more than 300 churches, synagogues and other faith-based organizations, fills a big gap in information on religious giving.

“It is very hard to come by,” said Rick Dunham, president and CEO of Dunham+Company and a member of the board of the Giving Institute, which publishes Giving USA. “When you look at houses of worship and the amount given through church, reporting on that is obviously spotty.”

The Blackbaud Index provides the most up-to-date information on charitable giving today. Tracking approximately $12 billion in US-based charitable giving, the Index is updated on the first of each month at and is based on year-over-year percent changes. Featuring overall and online giving, the Index can be viewed by size and subsets of the nonprofit industry. The Index now also features a fundraising benchmark calculator that will allow users to easily chart their own results against the Index, and historical data to provide a fuller view of charitable giving.

The new faith-based index brings the number of specialty indices up to nine, including: Arts & Culture, Environment & Animal Welfare, Healthcare, Human Services, International Affairs, K-12 Education, Medical Research, Public & Society Benefit, and now, Faith-based. There are plans to add a specialty index on higher education in 2014.