Contributed by Kaitlin Robb, Communications Manager at The Curtis Group, a Giving Institute Member Firm and Giving USA 2022 Benefactor

While it is no secret that our world has been forever changed by the events of the last several years, it remains true and constant that Americans are incredibly generous, giving $484.85 billion (a 4% increase over 2020) to charity last year alone, according to Giving USA 2022.

So, what’s in these numbers? Who gave? Where did they give? And what should you do with this information? Giving USA 2022 is a powerful tool for your success, providing a guide to informed fundraising and giving, whether you are a member of a development team, CEO, board member, nonprofit, consultant, educator or donor.

Check out these five ways that you can leverage Giving USA 2022:

1) Evaluate the data

“The contents are helpful with benchmarking data, creating targets and Key Performance Indicators.  It provides information on best practices and examples.”

– Dave Neary, Executive Director, DuPage Habitat for Humanity

  • Giving USA 2022 provides the foundation to ask more thoughtful and thorough questions of a specific organization. Through benchmarking, you can better determine whether a deviation from national findings is an ongoing trend or an anomaly. Did the organization experience the same growth rate as national giving to that specific subsector? Has giving increased or decreased over the last five years? How does the giving break down into sources (individuals, corporations, foundations and bequests)? What is the donor retention rate?
  • With this information, anyone can consider disparities and assess whether the nonprofit is spending its time, energy, and resources on the most valuable funding sources, giving vehicles and strategies.
  • Nonprofits can craft a thoughtful narrative for their supporters and use the data and trends to support their future goals and plans.

2) Focus on individual donor relationships

“It is essential in directing staff and board to focus on major gifts and individual gifts.”

Leonard Iaquinta, President, Len Iaquinta’s Excellence in Communications, Inc.

  • Since individuals continue to give almost nine out of every 10 dollars (counting family foundations and bequests), engaging donors must be at the top of your to-do list.
  • Giving USA 2022 includes data on donor behavior that will help you understand what is important to donors and ultimately where to focus your time. For example, the 4% decrease in year-over-year donor retention underscores that nonprofits need to invest in stewardship, thanking past supporters, showing appreciation, and demonstrating impact (retention rate obtained from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project).

3) Educate Your Stakeholders

Giving USA products have informed my outlook, strategy, and goals, and have supported board and staff development in fundraising.”

Lara Kilpatrick, Advancement Director, FishWise

  • There are still many misconceptions about charitable giving in our country. For example, many still believe it is corporations and foundations (not individuals) that give the majority of dollars to nonprofits. Armed with this report, you can address this false impression and others.
  • Giving USA 2022 will also help you understand the role of various giving vehicles in charitable giving. This year’s report has a special section on donor-advised funds, which will be of particular benefit since donor-advised funds are one of the fastest growing giving vehicles. You can raise awareness about which giving vehicles are playing a more prominent role in our country and help nonprofits diversify.

4) Understand the Impact of Economic Trends and Policies

“The data is useful in understanding giving over time, so that we can take into account larger economic trends.  The chapters provide an overview of key verticals for our business, and we use the data in a variety of company presentations throughout the year.”

Rachel Hutchisson, Vice President of Global Social Responsibility, Blackbaud

  • Giving USA examines the relationship between giving and economic trends (such as stock market performance, disposable personal income, and GDP). Giving USA 2022 will raise your awareness about economic factors that might impact donor choices, such as gift timing or their use of giving vehicles.
  • You can help donors find creative ways to give with your increased understanding of the latest policies and trends that might impact charitable giving.


5) Be Prepared to Adapt

“Every year, Giving USA is one of the sharpest arrows in every nonprofit’s quiver, providing wisdom and philanthropic business intelligence to drive effective fundraising strategy – ultimately turbocharging support for America’s vital causes.  It’s an indispensable resource for releasing more generosity.”

Michael J. Tomlinson, President, BDI

Demographics are shifting. Giving vehicles are changing. Our world is adapting to a new normal. By incorporating the data into your forecasting, presentations, education and donor relationships, you will be ready to address future challenges, make necessary changes and promote the important role of nonprofits and charitable giving.

Leverage a Giving USA Subscription today and access decades of giving data in the U.S.

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