The Giving USA Foundation has released its 2010 giving figures, and there’s not a lot of good news.
Giving bumped up by two percent. But after historic drops in 2008 and 2009, a little increase was expected. The results are certainly in line with what we found with the Nonprofit Research Collaborative 2010 report earlier this year.
But it’s not the short-term results of 2010 that I’m focused on so much as what lies ahead. We’re not seeing any signs of exceptional growth in 2011. And as Giving USA noted, it will be five or six years until we get back to pre-recession levels of giving if philanthropy continues to grow at two percent annually.
Is that likely? No one knows with any certainly what sort of economic growth will have over the next several years, but if you listen to economists, the outlook is pessimistic. Flat growth, or slight increases at best. There’s no reason to think, at this point, the next economic boom is anywhere close.
We’ve been saying this for a year or so now but it bears repeating: we’re in a new world. The start-and-stop growth of the last decade is going to look pretty good compared to what we’ll likely face over the next several years.
But this is why we get all the training, isn’t it? Times like this are precisely why you join AFP and engage in continuing education, network with colleagues and stay updated on latest trends and innovations. I believe these challenges are going to bring out the best of us. It’s easy (relatively) to raise funds in a strong economy. Times like these are when we prove our worth as a profession.