Annual Giving

The Results Are In: 2016 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy

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ustrust_bulletinlogo_140820Editor’s Note:  The 2016 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, reports the giving patterns and priorities of America’s wealthiest donors and provides valuable insights into the strategies, vehicles and approaches that can make giving more effective. This Study is a continuation of the 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 reports. 

Results are based on a nationwide sample of 1,435 responding households with a net worth of $1 million or more and/or an annual household income of $200,000 or more. For the first time, the study includes a deeper analysis based on age, gender, sexual orientation and race.  The Study offers comprehensive information on the charitable giving and volunteering activities of high net worth households that will apply directly to our Kansas City philanthropic endeavors. 

This past June, JB+A partnered with U.S. Trust and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to present Giving USA 2016:The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015.  We are pleased to continue to share valuable information that complements Giving USA data and can be used by nonprofit professionals, donors, volunteers and others interested in promoting philanthropy.

What did we learn?
The Study reveals that giving levels remain high and the future looks bright, supported by several findings:

  • The vast majority are giving: Last year, 91% of high net worth households donated to charity compared to 59% of the general population of U.S. households.
  • They are spreading the wealth around: on average, wealthy donors gave to eight different nonprofits last year with donors over the age of 70 giving to an average of 11 organizations.
  • These households plan to give as much or more in the future: 83% of wealthy donors are planning to give as much (55%) or more (28%) in the next three years than they have in the past.
  • Time is also treasure: these high net worth households also demonstrated their commitment to charitable causes through volunteering.  50% of wealthy individuals volunteered their time to charities they support. This is twice the rate of the general population (25%).

Motivations to Give
While there is an assortment of reasons motivating high net worth philanthropy, the following were cited as the top motivators for giving in 2015:

  • Believing in the mission of the organization – 54%
  • Believing that their gift can make a difference – 44%
  • Experiencing personal satisfaction, enjoyment or fulfillment – 39%
  • Supporting the same causes annually – 36%
  • Giving back to the community – 27%

Only 18% of the respondents cited tax advantages among their top motivations for giving compared with 34% who cited this as a motivation in 2013.

What do high net worth donors want?
Donors have strong feelings about how their donation should be used. They feel that nonprofit organizations should:

  • Limit the amount of the individual’s donation that is spent on general administrative and fundraising expenses – 89%
  • Demonstrate sound business and operational practices – 89%
  • Acknowledge donations by providing a receipt for tax purposes – 88%
  • Not distribute their names to others – 84%
  • Send a thank you note – 61%

“This year’s Study reinforces that our wealthiest donors are engaged, willing and eager to give,” says Jeffrey Byrne, President + CEO of Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc.  “with nearly half the wealthy individuals surveyed indicating that charitable giving has the greatest potential for impact on society, it is up to us – the fundraisers and nonprofit professionals – to connect, cultivate and steward these individuals.”

The study also highlighted several key findings regarding volunteerism amongst high net worth individuals.

“A significant finding from this year’s study is the correlation between volunteerism and giving” said Lewis Gregory, CAP, Senior Vice President, Institutional and Private Client Advisor for U.S. Trust in Kansas City.  “A high percentage of wealthy individuals give financially to the organizations with which they volunteer. They also give 56% more on average than those who do not volunteer. I hope this inspires nonprofits to appreciate and cultivate their volunteers on a whole new level.”

Other Key Takeaways
And the winner is:  basic needs organizations.  While many of the nonprofit subsectors benefited from increased contributions from high net worth donors in 2015, basic needs was the clear front runner.

  • 63% of high net worth households gave to basic needs organizations
  • Religion received the largest share of dollars (36%) – more than basic needs (28%), higher education (8%), health (7%) or the arts (5%).
  • The highest share of high net worth households also prioritized education as the most important current policy issue (56%) ahead of poverty (34.6%) and healthcare (33.8%).
  • New research: There’s no better time than election season to study the political giving behavior of high net worth individuals.  The study found:
    • One out of four wealthy individuals contributed to a political candidate in 2015 or planned to do so in the 2016 election cycle
    • Donors over the age of 70 (40%) and LGBT individuals (38%) were more likely to give to a political candidate or campaign
    • The top three public policy issues that matter most to wealthy individuals are health care (29%), education (28%) and national security (27%), closely followed by the economy (26%)

To access the full 90-page report, visit

Register Now for JB+A’s Latest Workshop

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Register now for

Tools for Fundraising Success
Building an Integrated Fundraising Program

Friday, August 26, 2016 

This hands-on workshop will detail best practices and step-by-step techniques for creating and implementing an integrated fundraising program that will transform your organization.

**All attending organizations will receive two hours of complimentary fundraising consultation from JB+A.**

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Bishop Spencer Place, Westport Room
4301 Madison Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri

This workshop is intended for Executive Directors, Development Directors, Chief Development Officers, Board Members and Fundraising Volunteers.

The workshop price of $99 admits you and one guest.

Call 816.237.1999 or click here to register.

NRC Survey Reveals More Nonprofits are Conducting Campaigns – with Greater Fundraising Success

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Compared with 2011, significantly more nonprofits are conducting campaigns, and they are more likely to be receiving higher amounts in charitable gifts.  More than half of charities surveyed reported growth in charitable receipts.

NRC logo

These findings are part of several in a special report recently released by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC). The Special Report on Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns is based on results from 1,071 nonprofits surveyed during the summer of 2015. The report also shares information obtained about fundraising results and overall charitable receipts in early 2015 with regional, sector and organizational size comparisons.

In the survey, 27 percent of organizations reported being in a capital, comprehensive or combined campaign as of the summer of 2015.  And 19 percent reported being in a special campaign, meaning nearly half of all organizations responding to the survey had a focused effort to raise funds. This compares to just 12 percent from the 2011 study.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents saw fundraising receipts increase from January through June 2015, compared with the same time last year. This is an increase from 52 percent in 2014. Charitable receipts rose at 71 percent of Education organizations, much higher than the 58 percent seeing increases as of mid-2014. This subsector had the highest percentage of survey participants reporting growth in charitable gifts received. Sixty-three percent of Human Services organizations saw charitable receipts increase, much greater than the 48 percent reported in 2014. This is the first time that more than half of Human Services charities have seen an increase as of mid-year since tracking began in 2011.

View the full report here for more insights on campaigns and fundraising results in 2015.

JB+A is a proud member of The Giving Institute, which, since 1935, has championed thought leadership on philanthropy and fundraising in the nonprofit sector. Through the Giving USA Foundation, The Giving Institute produces the Giving USA Annual Report and partners with other groups to provide valuable research and data about charitable giving.

No Matter the Measure, Giving is Good

By | Annual Giving, Commentary, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Insights, News You Can Use | No Comments

Jeffery ByrneJeffrey D. Byrne
President + CEO

By now we’re all aware of #GivingTuesday. Just wrapping up its fourth successful year, this incredible phenomenon has tapped into the brushfire energy of social media to successfully unite nonprofits, individuals, families, businesses and other organizations into a global giving movement we’ve not experienced before.  Since its inception in 2012, this annual day of giving back has generated more than $203,900,000 in gifts.  (See the preliminary recap of #GivingTuesday 2015 results and more cumulative data here.)

This year’s #GivingTuesday was punctuated by a stunning announcement from Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, who made an extraordinary pledge to distribute 99 percent of their Facebook shareholdings to philanthropic causes over the course of their lifetimes. In an open letter to their newborn daughter Max, Chan and Zuckerberg outlined their purpose for giving—including specific areas of focus in personalized education, medical technology and global connectivity— and their dedication to changing the world in which their child will grow up. (You can view the full letter here.)

As I visited clients on Tuesday, December 1, I spotted several billboards showcasing #GivingTuesday — part of a partnership between JB+A and Lamar Advertising Company. For the fourth year in a row, Lamar generously donated 12 digital billboards over a two-week period throughout the Greater Kansas City area to promote #GivingTuesday, resulting in an estimated 3,156,782 viewing impressions.  Lamar has donated 43 billboards over the last four years with a value of more than $129,000.

I am also Chair of the Board of Directors for The Giving Institute, a consortium of top consulting firms to nonprofits that is a #GivingTuesday founding partner. JB+A provides fundraising and financial development services to nonprofits, and that includes sharing resources, best practices and research to help nonprofits benefit from the power of #GivingTuesday.

And as I sat at my computer late #GivingTuesday night, with rapid-fire clicks of the mouse, I joined Chan and Zuckerberg and hundreds of thousands of other participants in supporting the causes that are important to us.

Last year, Americans gave an astonishing $358.38 billion to charity, surpassing levels not seen since before the Great Recession (according to the 60th Anniversary Edition of Giving USA), and 64.5 million adults volunteered 7.9 billion hours of service, worth an estimated value of $175 billion (according to the Independent Sector).

Donors today are gifting their time, talent and treasure with purpose and the way that people engage in philanthropy is evolving.

Many donors are choosing to give through mechanisms that allow for thoughtful, long-term giving, such as donor-advised funds. (We’ve seen significant growth in this trend.) Other donors simply want to give what they can, whenever they can—as illustrated this past #GivingTuesday, in which the mean gift size was $107.47, suggesting donors feel they can make a positive impact with any size gift. And over the past four years, the #GivingTuesday campaign has had double-digit, year-over-year growth in donations.

I have been in the nonprofit fundraising industry for more than 25 years. I am sincerely heartened by these new giving trends. They represent an increased understanding of the importance of giving. I am also continually humbled by the generosity of the donors who support nonprofits—even despite times of tumultuous economic climate, our country continues to prove itself one of the most generous in the world.

While I did not pen an open letter or create a sophisticated construct for my gift, I still gave. In comparison to the mega gifts given by the likes of Zuckerberg, Gates and Buffett, the contributions from me and my firm may seem inconsequential. But that’s not the point.

The point is, giving is good.  No matter the size, no matter the mechanism and no matter what new methods we create to measure giving, the intangible, pure goodness of giving remains. I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to truly measure the impact of that.

What will 2016 hold? I am confident that the year ahead will be marked by significant giving. We will feed those who would otherwise go hungry. We will provide safety, shelter and counseling to victims of domestic violence. We will increase access to quality education and employment opportunities. We will advance medical research and technology to treat and prevent disease. We will preserve historically and culturally significant works for generations to come. We will give those living with cognitive or physical disabilities new purpose through recreation and competitive sports. We will allow seniors continued independence, wellness and fellowship.

I see incredible potential for the future of philanthropy.

But to bring this vision to reality and support this growing culture for giving, those of us who are volunteers, advocates, donors, philanthropists and nonprofit professionals must play our part.

We must maintain the conversation about charitable giving, keeping abreast of movements in local and federal government around this topic, and advocating for policy that supports giving.

We must continue to evolve the mechanisms for philanthropy by offering alternative and innovative vehicles for giving, facilitating the process with new ideas and technologies for maximum giving and impact.

We must share the stories of nonprofits and other charitable enterprises and all the good works they do.

And, most importantly, we must continue to give what we can, when we can, how we can. We must remember that each and every one of us possesses the ability to create positive impact in the world, and that each and every gift propels us towards the realization of our hopeful vision for a better tomorrow.

Here’s to 2016!

JDB Signature Full

Donor-Advised Funds: Parking or Philanthropy?

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Commentary, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Grants, Insights, News You Can Use, Planned Giving, Prospect Research, The Giving Institute | No Comments

Jeffery Byrne

Jeffrey D. Byrne
President + CEO

The Giving Institute recently hosted its Summer Symposium in Boston, and I attended a very informative session on “The Charitable Landscape and Donor-Advised Funds” presented by Matt Nash, a Senior Vice President with Fidelity Charitable. I felt the presentation made a good case for donor-advised funds, and has helped me re-shape my thinking around this giving vehicle.

As fundraisers and nonprofit managers, we know donor-advised funds (DAFs) have been a part of American philanthropy for decades. We’ve also undoubtedly noticed (perhaps with some chagrin?) that DAFs are quickly becoming more and more popular vehicles for charitable giving. Their role in shaping the charitable landscape has grown dramatically over the past two decades and we can only expect this trend to continue. Many of us have probably also wondered how to “crack the DAF nut” – how to successfully secure this type of funding and connect with the seemingly anonymous individuals behind the mechanism. Since 1991, Fidelity Charitable has operated as an independent public charity and currently sponsors the nation’s largest DAF program. Its mission includes programming to make giving simple and effective. So how do they do that through a funding mechanism that feels like an enigma, and what are the benefits – to both donors and nonprofits?

I learned a lot about the state of DAFs from Matt’s presentation. For example, Fidelity Charitable holds nearly $15 billion in assets in more than 72,000 DAFs (Fidelity Charitable calls them Giving Accounts) which are held by more than 119,000 individuals (known as donors). The average age when opening a DAF is 54 and the current donor age is 62. Donors establish Giving Accounts as they approach retirement age, and 62% of Fidelity donors say they are using these donor-advised funds as a way to sustain giving through retirement. It is also interesting to note that more than half of Fidelity’s donor contributions were non-cash assets and 3/4 of donors say the ability to donate such assets is a reason for setting up their fund. In 2014, more than half of contributions were made with non-cash assets.

Fidelity Charitable is the second-largest grant making entity in the United States, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2014, it awarded $2.6 billion in donor-recommended grants to 97,000 charities. The total amount granted by Fidelity has tripled over the past 10 years, as has the number of grants of $1 million or more. In the first six months of the 2015 calendar year alone, Fidelity has set a record with its 310,000 donor-recommended grants.

Once assets have been contributed to a Giving Account, they can be invested for short- or long-term giving goals. Donors can recommend an investment strategy that aligns with their own charitable goals and time frames, and potentially grow their charitable dollars tax free. And most DAF participants list tax benefit as a motivation for using a DAF. Is this “parking” funds? Perhaps. But isn’t it also empowering philanthropy? Absolutely! There is a correlation between investment growth and grant making. Fidelity reported its assets rose from $12.8 billion to $14.9 billion in fiscal year 2014. Grants rose 32% over the previous year. While the average grant size remains consistent, the number of grants per Giving Account continues to grow. And most contributions to Fidelity Charitable are granted out to charities within 10 years.

The median Giving Account balance is just over $16,000, and 60% of Giving Accounts have balances under $25,000. But more than 5,500 accounts have balances upwards of $250,000. The majority of grants were recommended online and Fidelity offers a free, online tool (the DAF Direct Widget) that nonprofits can add to their websites, helping donors recommend grants directly from the charity’s website. Donors are also taking advantage of being able to pre-schedule their giving, and pre-scheduled grants make up about 1/5 of outgoing grants from Fidelity. And contrary to some perceptions, most grants–92% of them–are not anonymous, but include names and addresses for acknowledging the gift.

Consider these takeaways when navigating the world of DAFs and meaningfully engaging DAF (and ultimately your organization’s) donors:

  • Flag the DAF and gifts in your donor database
  • Recognize the donor in stewardship, not the DAF sponsor
  • Seek to engage the donor, even if the initial gift is small
  • Be sure to include DAFs in your organization’s “Ways of Giving”

And remember, most donors complement their DAF giving with cash giving; often times, the DAFs are used in strategic and larger giving, while cash or cash equivalent gifts are used for smaller donations and more casual giving. DAFs are becoming increasingly more popular and nonprofits should recognize and work with DAFs and their donors as ways to strengthen philanthropy.