CCS Fundraising is thrilled to share the tenth edition of Snapshot of Today’s Philanthropic Landscape. This report compiles and contextualizes research from across the field of philanthropy to help U.S. nonprofits wade through the available data and create informed fundraising strategies.

“For the past ten years, CCS has aggregated the latest research on the state of U.S. philanthropy in our Snapshot of Today’s Philanthropic Landscape report,” say the publication Co-Editors, Tom Kissane, Principal and Managing Director and Natalie Skinner, Senior Vice President. “It is heartening to see the resiliency of philanthropy reflected in this year’s edition, as Giving USA estimates that Americans gave a record-setting $471.44 billion in 2020. At the same time, we must recognize that this outpouring of generosity sits within a complex and turbulent landscape. It is more important than ever for nonprofit leaders and fundraisers to understand the philanthropic terrain and be diligent and intentional as they connect with donors. We are elated to share this tenth-edition report as a resource to help mission-driven organizations uncover philanthropic trends and develop data-informed fundraising strategies.”

The report discusses essential findings from across the field of philanthropic research, including:

  • Individuals, foundations, and corporations donated $471.44 billion in 2020, a new record and an incredible demonstration of generosity and resilience in a complex year.[1]
  • Donors are responding to the unique conditions of today’s world, making philanthropic gifts and pledges of more than $21 billion to U.S. COVID-19 relief and more than $14 billion to U.S. racial justice efforts in 2020 and 2021 to date.[2]
  • Donations in support of pandemic relief and racial justice did not diminish overall philanthropic giving in 2020; donations to eight of the ten charitable causes tracked by Giving USA increased in 2020.[1]
  • Individuals continue to drive U.S. philanthropy, contributing 69% of giving in 2020.[1] An increasingly large portion of giving comes from wealthier individuals: 80% of charitable dollars come from 20% of households.[3]
  • Foundation giving grew faster than any other source in 2020, at a rate of 17%.[1]
  • Though corporate giving decreased by 6.1% in 2020, [1]  corporations stood out for significant philanthropic commitments to U.S. racial equity efforts and pandemic relief. [2]
  • The wealth of high net worth individuals grew in 2020, as did their giving; 2020’s top 53 donors gave a combined $24.7 billion.[4]
  • Nonprofits accepting non-cash donations grow nearly five times faster on average than organizations accepting only cash gifts.[5]
  • Digital giving increased by 21% to comprise 13% of all charitable giving in 2020, a new height.[6]

Read the full report for more findings and insights on the data from CCS’s fundraising experts. To download a copy of Snapshot of Today’s Philanthropic Landscape, 10th Edition, click here.

[1] Giving USA Foundation, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2020 (2021).

[2] Candid, “Philanthropic response to coronavirus (COVID-19)” (Accessed July 16, 2021) and “Funding for racial equity” (Accessed July 16, 2021).

[3] Blackbaud, Vital Signs, Part 3: How Major Donors Are Shaping Philanthropy (2020).

[4] The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “The Philanthropy 50” (2021).

[5] Dr. Russell James III, Cash is Not King in Fundraising: Results from 1 Million Nonprofit Tax Returns (2018).

[6] Blackbaud, Charitable Giving Report (2021).

About the Author

CCS Fundraising is a strategic fundraising consulting firm that partners with nonprofits for transformational change. As leading consulting experts in campaign and development strategy, we plan and implement fundraising initiatives to help nonprofit organizations make a bigger impact—locally, nationally, and globally. For over 70 years, CCS has empowered many of the world’s greatest organizations to advance some of the most important causes in history. While the results of our work are immediate, the impact of the strategies, tools, and tactics we develop with our clients are enduring.