Funds for All & All for Funds

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good news on the horizon for fundraisers

In a recent issue, The Chronicle of Philanthropy predicted a jump in giving in 2011 from top donors. The article talked about what I think of as "the Warren Buffett club," a group of top billionaires pledging to devote half or more of their wealth to charitable causes. It said that few made big gifts in 2010, but the author predicted a better outcome in 2011 by this group's philanthropy. The article pointed to fading fears of a double-dip recession (but since when are billionaires so worried about a recession?) and the resolution of tax issues that concerned the mega-wealthy as contributing to a probably improved giving climate.

Ironically, of course, the non-wealthy continue to give more generously than anyone expected, given the economic climate. It seems that the widow's mite still matters most in this world. The article gives these statistics on the downward trend in mega-giving:

*  In 2010, just nine people on the top-50 wealth list committed more than $100-million, compared with 16 in 2007, and 18 in 2006.

*  The median gift was $39.6-million, down from $41.4-million in 2009, $69.3-million in 2008, and $74.4-million in 2007.

All in all, I'm glad I work more with non-mega-wealthy donors. Their philanthropy didn't take a similar big dip during the recession, despite the fact that most middle-class people were much harder-hit by the recession than the ultra rich. If it weren't for generous "small" donors, many small nonprofits would have gone under in the last two years.

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