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2006 Giving on Pace So Far with Previous Years

(Dec. 11, 2006) Contribution levels in the U.S. through the first nine of months of 2006 are remarkably similar to levels seen in 2004 and 2005, according to a recent survey by Guidestar.

The Fifth Annual Guidestar Nonprofit Survey asked participants to compare their giving levels during the first nine months of October 2006 to the first nine months of 2005. Half of respondents said contributions had increased, while 27 percent reported giving levels were about the same and 19 percent reported decreases.

The level of giving reported in the 2006 survey is similar to that seen in the past two surveys and much stronger than what was reported in the first Guidestar survey in 2002.


Contributions Decreased

Contributions Stayed the Same

Contributions Increased

Don’t Know

October 2006





October 2005





October 2004





October 2003





October 2002





The percentage of respondents seeing increased contributions compared to 2005 will most likely go up given that the findings do not include the final three months of the year. For example, the AFP State of Fundraising Survey found that by the end of 2005, 63 percent of charities had raised more money that year than in 2004. The 2004 survey found that 65 percent of respondents had raised more money that year than in 2003.

Few Differences by Region, Subsector

The survey found that regional responses closely mirror the national results. The largest percentage of respondents reporting decreased contributions and the smallest proportion reporting increased contributions were both found in the New England area. The Great Lakes region was behind New England in both categories.

In addition, there was little correlation between subsector (type of mission or cause) and giving levels. Only arts, culture and humanities groups experienced both a high percentage of groups reporting increased contributions and a low proportion seeing decreased giving.

Larger organizations, with annual expenditures of $500,000 or more, had the greatest percentage of participants reporting increased contribution levels.

Grant Making Increases Modestly

A slight majority of respondents (51 percent) from grant making organizations reported awarding more money over the first nine months of 2006 than during the first nine months of 2005. Almost a third (32 percent) granted about the same amount, 14 percent reported a decrease and 3 percent did not know.

About half (51 percent) said that applications to their organizations had increased . Nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) reported that the number of applications had increased modestly.

About the Survey

A copy of the executive summary of the survey is availble on the Guidestar website.

Guidestar emailed 44,926 invitations to participate in the survey (all of whom were subscribers to their newsletter and associated with nonprofits). There were 3,820 participants, for a response rate of 8.5 percent. Responses were received from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Guidestar is a 501(c)(3) public charity based in Williamsburg, Va., that provides to the public information about charities compiled from IRS Forms 990 and the IRS Business Master File, including comprehensive facts on employee compensation and grant activity.

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