Giving USA’s Annual Report – A Favorite Pie Chart!

Of all the fantastic visuals, photos and infographics I’ve used over the years, there’s one that I come back to more often than any other. Take a look. 

Giving USA's Annual Report

This chart from Giving USA is truly a picture that’s worth a thousand words. It communicates a simple but critical message that can help you – and development officers everywhere – set your strategy and create a fundraising plan that works. What’s the big aha? That the vast majority of charitable giving in the U.S. comes from individual donors. 

While corporations and foundations may get major media attention for large gifts, their pieces of the pie are mere slivers. And if you further simplify the chart by acknowledging that bequest gifts are actually from individuals and approximately half of foundation giving comes from family foundations which are, when you get down to it, individuals too, well... you end up with a whopping 86.5% of contributions coming from individuals. 

Revisit this chart when you are trying to decide how best to deploy your staff and monetary resources. It may not be wise to put all your eggs in the foundations basket, or devote hundreds of hours to pursuing corporate partnerships. If your board suggests writing a grant proposal for every program at your organization, try showing them this chart and start a conversation about building an individual giving program instead.

Giving USA updates these stats annually so you can always have current info. While they charge for many of their reports, a short highlights version of the annual report (including this chart) is available for free. I hope you’re able to utilize this info in your work.

What reactions do you get when you show this chart to others? Let me know in the Comments box below.

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