Camber Collective Releases Money for Good 2015 - Revealing Root Causes to Why Charitable Giving Has Been Stuck at 2% GDP Since the 70s

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An Additional $47B Annually In New and Switchable Donations Is Waiting To Be Tapped

Nonprofits need new resources to fulfill their current commitments and to take on additional challenges as the needs of society increase and shift.

Philanthropic giving in the U.S. has been stuck at 2% GDP since the 70s despite increasing awareness of societal issues and needs. Money for Good 2015, released today by Camber Collective, goes to the root of this problem and provides a roadmap for solving it. There’s an annual potential to mobilize up to $22B in new philanthropic giving and shift $25B that’s already being donated, according to the report.

“More than incremental changes from year to year, what we really need to solve for is how to increase and improve giving at scale,” said Hope Neighbor, Partner, Camber Collective. "Nonprofits need new resources to fulfill current commitments and to take on additional challenges as the needs of society increase and shift.”

Government spending on social issues has been slowing and corporate philanthropy is down nearly 50% since the 80s as a percent of profits, making increased and better individual giving more critical than ever before.

Like other industries today, the marketplace of giving has become so diverse that organizations have to appeal to a donor base that ranges from tech-intuitive millennials to discerning retirees. There’s a real disconnect between the kinds of communication donors receive and the kinds of communication they want and need. This mismatch leaves many donors feeling overwhelmed by the giving process, unsure of the benefits of their giving, and even mistrustful of nonprofits. As a result, too many donors default to familiar but unhelpful giving habits like loyalty to specific organizations, low levels of research, and a preference for well-known nonprofits.

Money for Good 2015’s key takeaways are that to overcome these barriers and increase giving, we need to: customize fundraising strategy to each behavioral donor type, reframe giving appeals to better meet donor preferences, and adopt new approaches to maximize giving channels. The report provides researched tools that can be readily adapted by the social sector to address these challenges.

Additional report findings

The major barriers to increased giving for American donors are:

  • Donors feel overwhelmed by the giving process: They are often uncertain where to start, don’t have the information they want, feel pressed for time, and hence default to comfortable but less effective giving habits.
  • Donors want clearer communication with nonprofits: 49% of donors don’t know how nonprofits are using their money, 34% feel hassled, and 20% are unsure who benefits from the work they’re funding.
  • Donors don’t know how much they give compared to peers: 75% of Americans think they donate more than average, yet 72% are contributing at a rate that’s below the national average. There are few clear societal norms around how much, where, or how to give.
  • Nonprofit name recognition trumps impact: 61% prefer to give to large and/or well-known nonprofits but not necessarily the most effective organizations.
  • Donors are reluctant to change their giving habits: 67% of donors are loyal to primary causes while only 13% intend to give to different nonprofits and only 9% compare nonprofits before giving.

Where there’s hope:

  • Americans donors feel strongly about giving back: there’s a $47B opportunity to increase and shift philanthropic giving if we improve our marketing strategies.
  • Giving is different with every generation: And loyalty is lessening among younger donors starting with millennials.
  • Nonprofits are already connected to the people who are likely to give more but it’s probably not who they think and they require different approaches: Busy Idealists, Cautious Strivers and Unaware Potentials have the most untapped philanthropic potential.

In short - we need to: transform the culture of giving from stasis to one that’s dynamic, connected, simple and joyful, do more to close the gap between donors and the people and places non-profits serve, and more directly address the specific preferences of different donor segments.

Money for Good 2015 was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The F.B. Heron Foundation. The report’s purpose is to help lay the foundation for an increase in American giving beyond the 2% of GDP it has been stuck at since the 70s.

Money for Good 2015 is available as a free download at: This is the third installment of the Money for Good series.

About Camber Collective

Camber Collective is a strategy consulting firm that helps organizations navigate complex change and achieve high performance against both financial and mission-related goals.

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Josh Drake
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