Charitable thoughts

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William C. Fisher
William C. Fisher

As we look ahead into 2013 for senior living finances, a very brief review of donations to nonprofits might prove helpful. 

Charities continued to feel the effects of the “Great Recession” during the first nine months of 2012, Guidestar's 11th economic survey shows. 

Compared to the same period in 2011, 37% of organizations reported a decrease, 28% stated contribution levels had stayed about the same, and 34% said they had increased. 

The Chronicle of Philanthropy forecasts nonprofits will see a median gain of less than 1% for all of 2012. The good news, according to Geoffrey Brown of the Giving Institute: “We are not where we were pre-recession but charitable giving is returning to a more consistent level.”

Among the most striking gains in year-over-year giving was achieved by Fidelity Charitable, an organization that houses 52,000 donor-advised funds. Here, donations jumped 31.3% to $1.7 billion in 2011, moving it to second place, below only United Way Worldwide. 

Fidelity says it is benefiting from wealthy people who choose Fidelity to handle all the administrative functions instead of setting up their own foundations. 

Other findings in the Guidestar survey:

• Smaller gifts from individuals was the primary reason (77%) organizations cited for declining contributions, followed closely by fewer individuals giving (75%).

• 51% of the organizations in the survey receive the majority of contributions during the last quarter of the calendar year.

• A whopping 92% of respondents reported that demand for their organizations' services either increased over (64%) or stayed the same as (28%) demand in 2011.

I believe nonprofits should not be discouraged if giving levels
drop because they will be the beneficiaries over the next five to 10 years as more baby boomers transfer trillions of dollars to the next generation. 


William C. Fisher is president of Investment Advisory Group LLC, a business development company partnering with some of America's leading financial companies to provide independent financial services to nonprofit organizations.

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