Charleston, S.C (July 19, 2011) – Thirty-six of the leading U.S.-philanthropy experts, including nonprofit leaders, technology suppliers and consultants, and associations, recently gathered to discuss how the nonprofit sector can work together to grow the level of individual giving by Americans. The Growing Philanthropy Summit, held last month in Washington D.C., was sponsored by Blackbaud, Inc. and Hartsook Companies and was hosted by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

“We believe it is possible to significantly grow the level of individual philanthropy in the United States,” said Adrian Sargeant, professor of fundraising. “While over $290 billion dollars was given to good causes in 2010, individual donors are no more generous now than when data was first collected some 40 years ago. Despite the increasing professionalization of fundraising, the rapid growth in global wealth in the 1990s, developments in electronic/mass communications, and new financial mechanisms that facilitate fundraising, giving has been largely unmoved, remaining static at around 2 percent.”

The Summit focused on how to grow giving by enhancing the quality of the donor experience. The next step will be to generate a series of recommendations and to secure the assistance of key audiences, including foundations, nonprofit boards, and legislators among other groups, to actively move them forward.

A report detailing the recommendations will be released in September with plans for how each idea should be implemented and the metrics that might be used to ensure both implementation and impact.

“Increasing giving beyond 2 percent of GDP will only happen if we, as an industry, can entice donors to shift some of their discretionary income to nonprofits,” said Marc Chardon, Blackbaud’s chief executive officer. “At the Summit, we made a good start on recommendations for building the quality of personal and emotional benefits donors receive from giving through enhanced relationships with the organizations they are supporting. I look forward to seeing the detailed recommendations in September and helping further the collective goal of growing philanthropy in the United States.”

Initial discussions centered on the following four themes:

  • Improving the quality of fundraising education and professional development
  • Enhancing the quality of relationships that donors and prospective donors might have with the nonprofits they support
  • Building public trust and confidence in the sector
  • Identifying new forms and channels for giving with the greatest potential for growth and how this might be achieved

“The Summit provided a great dialogue for me and helped me realize that there needs to be a much greater emphasis on communicating better and in using the research we have to interact with all of the diverse populations involved in growing philanthropy,” said Margaret May Damen, event attendee and president of The Institute for Women and Wealth. “We need to lead both the corporate and government sector to look at a new way to solve problems.” 

Videos from the event are now available at

About Blackbaud 
Blackbaud is the leading global provider of software and services designed specifically for nonprofit organizations, enabling them to improve operational efficiency, build strong relationships, and raise more money to support their missions. Approximately 24,000 organizations — including The American Red Cross, Cancer Research UK, Earthjustice, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Lincoln Center, The Salvation Army, The Taft School, Tulsa Community Foundation, Ursinus College, the WGBH Educational Foundation, and Yale University — use one or more Blackbaud products and services for fundraising, constituent relationship management, financial management, website management, direct marketing, education administration, ticketing, business intelligence, prospect research, consulting, and analytics. Since 1981, Blackbaud’s sole focus and expertise has been partnering with nonprofits and providing them the solutions they need to make a difference in their local communities and worldwide. Headquartered in the United States, Blackbaud also has operations in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit