In 2018, overall charitable giving in the United States increased by 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. Large organizations grew by 2.3%; medium organizations increased 2%; and small nonprofits experienced a decrease of 2.3% compared to the same time period in 2017. Since 2016, overall giving has grown 9% and giving to Foundations grew 5% over the same three year time period.

Online giving grew 1.2% in 2018 compared to 2017. Large organizations had a decrease of 0.5%; medium-sized organizations grew 3.7%; and small nonprofits grew 0.7% on a year-over-year basis. Since 2016, online giving has grown 17%, and average online gift amounts have continued to increase. The percentage of total fundraising that came from online giving once again reached another record high in 2018. Approximately 8.5% of overall fundraising revenue, excluding grants, was raised online. In 2018, 24% of online transactions were made using a mobile device.

This is the continuation of a growing trend we have measured over many years now. Arts and Culture organizations had the largest growth in both overall and online giving during 2018. Animal Welfare, International Affairs, Higher Education, and Public and Society Benefit organizations also experienced significant growth in overall giving compared to 2017. Public and Society Benefit, Healthcare, and Faith Communities also had growth in online giving in 2018. 2018 continued the longest sustained period of charitable giving growth since the last recession.

There are several key trends shaping charitable giving that are highlighted here. First, charitable giving in the United States is returning to normal levels following two years of significant growth. Second, online giving is entering a new phase where mobile and other digital channels continue to change how donors engage with nonprofit organizations. Finally, giving to Foundations and Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) continues to grow in response to supporter preferences and changes in incentives. A 36-month view of fundraising from the same organizations reveals a 9% growth in overall giving and a 17% increase in online giving. When we take a broader view, spikes in giving during 2017 gave way to more normal growth rates in 2018. There is a tendency to want to identify a single reason for shifts in giving, but that is not how the philanthropic ecosystem works.

The digital marketing firm for nonprofits, Blackbaud, released this finding in its 2018 Charitable Giving Report.