A Year of Uncertainty and Complexity 
Giving USA 2019 
The Annual Report on Philanthropy
T he Phoenix Philanthropy Group provides resources to our clients and communities to better understand and navigate the competitive philanthropic environment.  In this issue of our newsletter, we are pleased to share the latest trends in philanthropy, as reported in the just-released Giving USA 2019 report. 

Overview: 

2018 was a decidedly mixed year for philanthropy. While overall giving continued to grow (by about 1%) for the fifth consecutive year- when adjusted for inflation, we actually saw a slight decline. Why? Because while the overall economy is strong, consistent political and economic volatility (from stock market swings to the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017) have added a new level of complexity and uncertainly to the mix for donors. This is reflected in the data - giving from individuals was down slightly and giving by bequest was flat, while giving by corporations and foundations was up. Correspondingly, of the 9 key giving sectors - Religion, Education, Human Services, Foundations, Health, Public-Society Benefit, Arts and Culture, International Affairs and Environment/Animals - only giving to International Affairs and the Environment /Animals saw an increase.

Key Issues:
 
Individual giving drops for the first time in years-  by 1.1%. 
I ndividuals have traditionally  been the  most stable  donors. This year, however, i ssues such  as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and an unpredictable stock market have combined with unease over the national and global political  environment  to make some donors wary

Corporate giving saw s ignificant growth- by 5.4%
Corporate pre-tax profits were up and the changing tax code may have given corporate leaders more confidence to pursue philanthropic agendas. Furthermore, the global trend toward holding the private sector responsible for their social impact has continued to make proactive philanthropy an emerging pillar of corporate strategy.

Giving to Foundations down 6.9%. Giving by Foundations up 7.3%
Foundations enjoyed a record windfall last year, largely driven by several mega  gifts and   bequests.The fact that Foundation giving is up, despite the drop in income ,  suggests  a  market correction   and increased social demand .  

Bequests
Generally a volatile category, this year saw no major bequests. 

Takeaways:  

Volatility is no reason to panic and a single year does not make a trend. 
Donor uncertainty must be met with organizational confidence and competence. Refocus on the fundamentals of good marketing/communications, prospect development, relationship management, retention, stewardship. 

Developing expertise in the latest giving tools will engender confidence in sophisticated and less-sophisticated donors alike. 
These include impact investing, donor-advised funds, social enterprise opportunities, and new methods for community engagement prospect research, and  more.

Leverage the corporate philanthropy renaissance.
Explore new opportunities for philanthropy, sponsorships, in-kind giving, cause-related marketing, and employee giving.   

Don't discount the impact of changing demographics. 
Millennials are reaching their prime earning years and now is the time to reorient your development strategies to better engage them. More specifically, the data points to their affinity for global issues and cross-border development

For more information on how to optimize your fundraising performance - or to receive a 30% discount on this year's report  - please call or email Phoenix Philanthropy at 602.380.2478 or info@PhoenixPhilanthropy.com .
 
Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018 is published by the Giving USA Foundation, established by The Giving Institute to advance philanthropy through research and education. The report is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  The Phoenix Philanthropy Group is the only full-service nonprofit/philanthropic consulting firm based in the Southwestern United States that is a member of The Giving Institute. 
 
As part of our commitment to nonprofits in the Southwest, we will be presenting the report to audiences in Phoenix, San Diego, and Long Beach.
 
For more information on The Giving Institute and the Giving USA Report, please visit  http://www.givinginstitute.org/.