Charitable donations reached record high in 2014

According to recent research, donors were feeling generous last year.

More specifically, U.S. donors contributed nearly $360 billion in financial gifts in 2014, representing a more than 7 percent increase year over year. This was the fifth year donation amounts grew. Nearly three-quarters of those contributions came from individuals, the latest annual Giving Institute report found.

Growth across nearly all sectors
Donations coming from individual people were the primary driver behind the massive amounts of paper and online donations processed last year. In terms of where their money went, people seemed to contribute to organizations that represented various industries. Per the report, giving increased in the following sectors:

  • Arts, cultures and humanities: 7.4 percent.
  • Environment and animals: 5.3 percent.
  • Health: 3.8 percent.
  • Public-society benefit: 3.4 percent.
  • Education: 3.2 percent.
  • Religion: 0.9 percent.
  • Foundations: 0.1 percent.

Since 2012, donations to educational institutions have increased the most at more than 13 percent.

Reaching an international audience.
Although the data comes from strictly U.S. donors, international nonprofits can take this information and plan for the future. As a matter of fact, Giving USA found the following giving source trends:

  • Foundation donations increased 6.5 percent year over year
  • Individual giving grew 4 percent year over year
  • Bequests increased 13.6 percent in 2014
  • Corporate donations grew nearly 12 percent year over year

Reaching the right audience
Given this data, nonprofits in various industries can target the right audience and where they spend time. Google provides a few simple tips on how to reach a certain demographic or group of individual:

  • Target audiences: Reach people based on industry- and vertical-related keywords 
  • Target sites: Market and connect on websites that are relevant for these people
  • Target content: Use interactive and engaging content to develop consistent themes and communicate your mission or objective

International nonprofits can take last year's giving data and apply it to their own operation with the right strategy.

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