DALLAS, May 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Charitable giving will fall well short of the gains experienced in 2015 as wild market swings and economic uncertainty challenge fundraising results for many U.S. charities, according to a new forecast.
In its latest report, the Atlas of Giving estimates that charities nationwide in 2016 are unlikely to get anywhere near the solid 4.6 percent increase in giving recorded in 2015.
Rather, the forecast projects charities will likely see total 2016 charitable giving range from a decline of 0.9 percent to a modest 1.4 percent increase. Nonprofits are already feeling the pain — through the first quarter of 2016, giving has remained flat compared to first quarter 2015.
A volatile stock market has been the key factor in the tempered outlook, as the market began 2016 with a historically dismal start that has been followed by a robust rebound in recent weeks. That volatility — along with uncertainty surrounding the Presidential election — has prompted many donors to hold back on giving, Atlas of Giving CEO Rob Mitchell said.
"We're dealing with some gathering clouds that could escalate into a perfect storm for some charities," Mitchell said. "We have seen extreme stock market swings, and a wild presidential race that is attracting attention and money. Add in other issues such as a lowered GDP forecast and a downturn in church giving, and you end up with a uncertain climate for fundraisers."
The turbulence began in January, when giving declined 0.6% compared with December — marking first month-over-month decline since the nation's deep recession ended in 2009. January's decrease snapped a 63-month streak during which giving consistently rose. February giving was also sluggish, up only 0.1% from January. Meanwhile, March delivered a 3.7 percent increase -- which coincided with a meteoric rise in the stock market.
The slow start and weak forecast are a wake-up call to fundraisers and nonprofits, who should adjust their expectations and approach to match the mood of their donors, Mitchell said.
"Sometimes, simply sharing an awareness of an issue that's weighing on the mind of a donor will help build trust and open a useful conversation," Mitchell said. "So, for instance, a fundraiser paying attention to trends in oil prices can adjust strategies and outreach for different populations within their donor base accordingly. That might mean offering donors some alternative and creative ways they can continue supporting causes that are important to them."
Interested in additional insights from Rob Mitchell? We would be happy to set up an interview or provide additional information.
About The Atlas of Giving The Atlas of Giving is the most precise and timely measurement of total charitable giving in the United States, as well as the only giving forecast. For more information, visit www.atlasofgiving.com
Contact: Peter Panepento
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SOURCE The Atlas of Giving