New study details major giving trends

A recent study looked at the role of million-dollar donors.
Date Published
11/17/2013

Major gifts have become an increasingly important source of revenue for nonprofit organizations around the world. Fundraising efforts focus on individuals, foundations, as well as corporate interests to seek out large donations that help provide a sustainable financial foundation. How much an organization seeks depends on the individual enterprise, but major gifts can provide nonprofit groups with a source of support that diversifies the donor list. 

Recent research conducted by the global bank Coutts provided details on the distribution of the world’s million dollar donors. The study looked at the giving rate of over 1,200 contributors from six regions around the world: The U.S., the U.K., China, Russia, the Middle East and Hong Kong. Within each segment, the study looked at how much each country gave in addition to the corresponding number of recipients. The report found the country with the greatest number of donations of $1 million or more was the U.S. In 2012, these donors raised $14 billion in funds, which went to nearly 1,000 different recipients. Reaching this level of giving required the efforts of nearly 900 donors.

Who is doing most of the giving?
Of the million dollar contributions worldwide, the majority came from individuals. In fact, 46 percent came from people, while 40 percent was donated by foundations. The remaining 14 percent of giving was raised by corporations. The donations went to a variety of causes. However, $7.05 billion was raised for higher education and $2.87 was given to foundations.

Where are the contributions going?
The Chronicle of Philanthropy highlighted the fact that the majority of donations were allotted for recipients within each donor’s region, or home country. Researchers from the London-based bank found only 6 percent of donations went to outside institutions. The Middle East represented an outlier as far as the location of recipients goes. The Nonprofit Quarterly cited data indicating 65 percent of contributions went to sources outside of the donor’s home country.

What are new trends?
While the U.S. provided the lion’s share of million-dollar donors, China represents a growing source of philanthropy on the global stage. As opposed to global averages, most of the contributions in China came from corporations – 59 percent. Meanwhile, individuals provided 38 percent of major gifts. At the same time, the majority of the million dollar gifts went to foundations instead of government institutions.

The role of major giving in nonprofit management is important when organizations are looking to expand their operations or implement new programs. With that in mind, organizations should see the number of major gifts throughout the world as a welcomed sign of increasing philanthropy.

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