USA Giving Trends and GLAAD

USA Giving Trends and GLAAD

According to this year’s Giving USA report, the gold standard for philanthropic trends and information, total charitable giving in 2009 came in at $303.76 billion, which was only slightly down from 2008. Of that $300 billion, 75 percent, over $225 billion, came from individuals just like you. If you consider the economic environment over the past year, the small decline in giving acts as a testament to the spirit of individual people to continue to support what they believe in.

Like other nonprofits, GLAAD did experience a decline in giving in 2009, but the organization was buoyed by the steadfast dedication of its major donor base. It is that strong foundation of which you are a part of that allowed GLAAD to keep its commitment to its core mission for 2010.

Giving USA also showed a 23.9 % decline in charitable bequests in 2009, a result of individuals waiting out the flux in the market.  GLAAD noted this early on as an opportunity to offer resources and educate our donors on the many aspects of wealth management.  Partnering with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, a series of wealth management seminars were held in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia, to provide our donors and the community-at-large valuable information on how to navigate the myriad of challenges and choices when it comes to planning for their future needs and charitable giving. There are several more seminars planned for the remainder of the year, stay tuned.

In many ways, the up and down trends in charitable giving mirror an individual’s own portfolio and thus, nonprofits like GLAAD make the same type of decisions and adjustments that you, as an individual make in your  own lives.  For instance, the largest impact in 2009 for GLAAD and for other charities like us may have been an overall decrease in giving to nonprofits falling in the category of “public society benefit”.  This sector decreased in revenue by 4.6%.  During challenging times, people tend to help their neighbors and communities in need, thus nonprofits dealing in the areas of “human services” and international relief” actually rose by 6.2% and 2.3%, respectively.  Staying one step ahead of this trend, GLAAD reduced its operating budget last year by nearly 20% to accommodate for any for shortfall that this effect may have had. This foresight allowed GLAAD to continue our vital programmatic work without interruption.

So at the end of the day, the “sector swing” was the factor that had the most impact on GLAAD’s bottom line in the area of memberships, events and new Alliance and Media Circle donors.  As our 2009 end of the year letter professed, GLAAD has managed your investment wisely, by reducing our expenses and continuing to rely on the strength and commitment of our volunteers and donors.  As we move through the remainder of 2010, we will remain in contact with you, our Alliance and Media Circle members, so that we gain your valuable insights on how to continually improve and remain a steadfast advocate against defamation.