The Best Things in Giving are Free

Isn’t it amusing how much hoopla is made each June about the release of the Giving USA report? About what it says occurred in the calendar year that ended six months ago? It’s like getting excited about reading a newspaper today that specializes on reporting news events that happened 18 months ago. Why does anyone care?

The answer is probably that most people are not aware that the technology has been developed to measure giving by 8 sectors, 4 sources, and 50 states – EVERY MONTH…and it’s free. It is called the Atlas of Giving. Today you can know what giving was last month. Even better, you can know what giving was for education or the arts and how gifts from individuals did as compared with grants from foundations. You can monitor trends in giving in real time – wow, what a concept.

Even more perplexing about the Giving USA report hoopla is the fact that the methodology for this much celebrated report relies heavily on IRS data from the tax year 2 years before (2010 for the ‘current’ 2012 report). This makes about as much sense as trying to measure today’s rainfall by looking at what rainfall was on this date two years ago. Economic conditions, current events, and demographics were very different two years ago. I guess the Giving USA experts also want us to ignore the fact that only a minority of donors actually itemize their tax returns and take a charitable income tax deduction. You are not that dumb.

The real problem isn’t really with the Giving USA report. The real problem is that so many in the nonprofit world seem so interested and are willing to pay money to buy the report(s) from this “nonprofit” that is tied to and supported by the biggest for profit fundraising companies and consulting firms in America. But wait…it gets worse. In six or eight months, Giving USA will ‘revise’ their numbers – making the report you bought this week obsolete. Why waste your money?

Go to now and you can see what giving has done, is doing, and will do THIS YEAR for absolutely no charge.

You won’t have to go to a meeting or webinar and hear promotions for fundraising firms to get this current information. Just go to, register for a free account, click and read in the privacy of your office, home, or coffee shop. Enjoy!