JGA Blog

Giving to Religion - A Leader in  Charitable Giving

January 19, 2018

Giving USA has published the longest-running, most comprehensive analysis of charitable contributions since 1957—and religion continually tops the list over the other nonprofit subsectors by a wide margin. The Giving USA:Special Report on Giving to Religion (Fall 2017) sheds new light on giving to this important sector, including the unique challenge of calculating these estimates and how the evolving religious landscape is changing charitable giving in America overall.Giving to Religion-1.jpg

At an estimated $122.94 billion given in 2016, religion cornered the market at 32% of total giving, which is more than twice the next closest contender, education. But a closer look at the data behind this sector reveals some relevant facts that can inform giving more broadly across all sectors. Generally, religious donors give at higher rates to other subsectors than their non-religious peers, according to Connected to Give: Faith Communities.

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Understanding the Tax Law Changes and the Implications for Charitable Giving

January 03, 2018

by Angela E. White, CFRE and John T. Keith, J.D.

Happy New Year from JGA! As we ring in 2018, the biggest change in the philanthropic marketplace will be questions about the impact of the new tax law changes.

The much-discussed bill is the most significant change to our tax code since 1986. It will take several months for these changes to be implemented, particularly the changes to payroll systems and withholdings, etc. For example, the entire system of claiming personal exemptions on the W-4 will be gone. It seems reasonable to assume that all workers will need new W-4s based on a newly designed form, unless the IRS allows some form of automatic conversion, which is unclear at this moment.

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Help Donors Do More with Their Nest Egg – Tax-Free Charitable IRA Rollovers

November 30, 2017


Educating donors about the benefits of charitable IRA rollovers is a great way to uncover future planned giving prospects for nonprofit fundraising. This flexible giving vehicle provides donors a tax-free method to support their favorite causes, whether they itemize their deductions on their federal tax return or not.

Since they were first created in 1974 as a part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) have become a featured financial and tax planning tool. Some of your organization’s donors have saved for retirement for years through IRA accounts and then, upon retirement, they discover that they don’t yet need the IRA. Given a choice, these donors would simply allow their IRA funds to stay in the account and continue to grow for the future, however, IRA owners are required to begin taking minimum withdrawals after age 70 ½.

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Introducing “Generosity For Life” – How U.S. Philanthropy is Changing

October 30, 2017

What does the term “philanthropist” mean? Would you consider yourself to be one? What factors influence how and when people give, whether that means volunteering time or donating money?

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Five Questions a Feasibility Study Should Answer

October 02, 2017

by Angela White

Some time ago, I recorded a short video interview on why we advocate feasibility studies at JGA, and I find that those reasons continue to hold true.

A feasibility study provides vital answers to help an organization create and run a successful fundraising campaign. By conducting a feasibility study, an organization can receive a third-party perspective on the organization's upcoming campaign or project.

Here are some questions a good feasibility study should help you answer.

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Important Considerations for Establishing Major Gift Metrics

September 19, 2017

Fundraising success is increasingly a vital component of an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.  Campaigns have increased in prevalence and frequency and often are dependent upon 90% of the dollars being contributed by 10% of the donors.  (In higher education, this can reach 95% of the dollars from 5% of the donors, a threshold nearly unheard of 15 years ago.) This leads many organizations to rely upon major gift fundraising at all times, rather than merely for special projects of need.

At the same time, it has become more common for boardmembers to have backgrounds in businesses that foster a sales culture and therefore look for data-driven accountability from the nonprofits they support.  How can we modernize our approach to goal-setting and accountability without sacrificing what makes philanthropy so different from sales transactions?

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Giving USA 2017: Implications for Healthcare

August 29, 2017

Giving USA is a valuable resource for nonprofits, providing not only a snapshot on giving for the last year, but additional insight into longitudinal trends and sector-specific giving. We've taken a look at implications for higher education nonprofits a few weeks ago and now would like to share with you some insights on trends uncovered in the data on healthcare philanthropy.


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Giving USA 2017: Implications for Higher Education

June 28, 2017

We've had a couple of weeks now to absorb the data on 2016 charitable giving provided by the release of the Giving USA 2017 report Now, we'd like to share a look at the implications of the data for those fundraisers involved in higher education advancement.

Total Giving

To recap, according to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016, total charitable giving in the United States grew by 2.7 percent to $390.05 billion in 2016. This marks the highest total amount given in the 40 years Giving USA has tracked this data, both in current dollars and when adjusted for inflation.

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Attracting and Retaining Good Fundraising Talent

June 19, 2017

The foundation of a strong fundraising program is built on relationships. When your organization has a talented and dedicated staff, you have the key elements to form relationships with your donors. What can we do to ensure we’re attracting and retaining our most valuable asset – people – while growing a strong culture of philanthropy?

What does the data show us about the current landscape of hiring development staff?

Recent research shows that the fundraising profession has a high turnover in staff positions and a dearth of qualified candidates to fill the void. Working with our clients, we hear stories of vacancies, long searches, and short stays.

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Giving USA Indicates Growth in Philanthropy Across All Nonprofit Sectors

June 13, 2017

Giving USA released its annual estimates of U.S. charitable giving today for 2016, and the results show overall growth during a presidential election year filled with national tumult and impending policy changes. Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy reports that total giving in our nation reached $390.05 billion in 2016, an increase of 2.7 percent over 2015. This total is the highest since Giving USA began tracking this data 40 years ago.

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