May 26, 2010 by Aaron Rubman
Philanthropy today is not just about the merit of your cause but also your credibility, your visibility, and the ease of giving.
According to the Giving USA Foundation, 2008 charitable giving was estimated at over $300 billion, roughly 2 percent of the US economy. 2008 was also the first time in over 20 years that inflation-adjusted donations dropped relative to the year before.
While the 2009 figures will not be available for another month, earlier this year the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that the current recession’s impact on charitable giving seems to resemble that of the recession of the late 1970’s, and that they do not expect the sector to rebound until 2012.
If they are correct, that means that over the next 2 years less money will be donated to charities even though the economic troubles have increased the need for charitable services.
A recent study by Fenton Communications found trust between donors and non-profits to be the single most important element in continuing a relationship. With more charities need money and less money available to give, donors are for reliable signs that their money will be well managed and produce desired outcomes. Donors listed traditional news media as the most credible source for learning what a charity has (or has not) done, while Facebook appeared to be the most visible platform for sharing ongoing activities.
Fenton Communications also reported that donors under the age of 35 were the ones most likely to increase the size or number of donations they make. All the more reason to reach out to younger philanthropists and make it easy for them to donate through the tools of the younger generation: smart phones and the world wide web.