Charitable contributions coming from more lower- and middle-income people

November 14, 2014

Charitable contributions coming from more lower- and middle-income people

A recent report issued by The Chronicle of Philanthropy shows that more Americans are giving to charitable organizations overall, but that increase comes from demographic groups that may be surprising for some. Donations from people making $100,000 or less increased during the six-year period from 2006 to 2012, but the level of giving is down among those with higher incomes. This statistic goes against many commonly held perceptions of philanthropy, specifically that the wealthiest people make the most significant donations in terms of overall value, if not frequency.

The jump in contributions is an encouraging statistic as it shows that more U.S. citizens are becoming involved with nonprofit groups and contributing to them. This is especially important in the wake of the Great Recession, when many people decreased or stopped their contributions to nonprofit groups entirely. However, the drop in participation of the wealthiest members of society is troubling. The two richest groups accounted for in the survey, those making between $100,000 and $200,000, and those making more than $200,000, showed declines in giving of 3.3 percent and 4.5 percent respectively. The fact that the report covered the time period from 2006 to 2012 means both pre- and post-recession years were included, showing that the fall off in contributions from the wealthy wasn't only tied to the economic downturn.

Focusing on the middle
The increase in giving by those taking home low and mid-level earnings should be viewed as a positive by nonprofits. While it will be difficult to replicate the sheer value of large contributions from wealthy individuals, a shift in strategy by nonprofit groups could lead to a larger overall amount of donations from the people who have recently become more involved in philanthropy. The Nonprofit Marketing Blog suggested that organizations focus on creating and nurturing the relationships they have with these contributors.

Because many organizations are currently focused on their high-level donors and the types of outreach that focus on low-dollar donations in high volume, the lucrative middle is likely being overlooked. Staff members need to start developing tactics that are geared more toward the interests and concerns of these mid-level contributors, as they are proving to be a growing part of the overall philanthropy scene.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.


Ready to chat?
Get in touch today to request a no-obligation savings evaluation.


First Nonprofit has saved us so much money over the state’s program. We had one little glitch with the state recently and we contacted FNP immediately. FNP staff called us back immediately and moved to remedy the problem.

WI Council of Religious & Independent Schools (WCRIS), Madison, WI

First Nonprofit has been a great partner. They have helped us saved hundreds of thousands of dollars! They have awesome resources for our nonprofit organization. Thanks for the partnership.

Community Care Inc., Milwaukee, WI

Life is certainly busy these days but having business partners like First Nonprofit has made some of the process hassle free. We have worked with this team for years. When we changed payroll systems, they outlined every step. I think this team is terrific and I know they get the job done! Thank you, Cruz, to all the team at FNP.

Gulfside Healthcare Services, New Port Richey, FL

FNP has helped our agency to save thousands of dollars every year on our unemployment coverage. The service is phenomenal, and we are thankful to their team as our partner. My experience working with Marshall on the advocacy around UE for nonprofits was also a highlight as someone who teaches advocacy and lobbying for nonprofits. Really, your whole team is top shelf, so thank YOU!

Advancing Academics, Turtle Creek, PA

Chicago Children’s Theatre has greatly benefited from our partnership with First Nonprofit, and I have always enjoyed working with the staff on our filings and any complicated questions. I would not hesitate to recommend First Nonprofit to fellow nonprofits. We’re very happy customers.

Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago, IL

FNP is a great resource for Daniel Kids. To have a TPA that we can count on to take point on not only managing our unemployment claims, but to support and guide any protest hearing, is invaluable. All the professional support staff we have worked with have been excellent, very knowledgeable and responsive. We are grateful for the help and support, thank you.

Daniel Kids, Jacksonville, FL

When I first began in my position at my organization, I hadn’t had experience working with a company like FNP. The staff was so patient and helpful in helping to explain the benefits of First Nonprofit. Anytime I reach out with a question I receive a quick, clear, and thorough response. I’m so thankful that we decided to partner with FNP. Their excellence in customer service, coupled with their variety of packages frees us up to truly serve our staff and community with a peace of mind knowing that our organization is protected against unanticipated unemployment insurance expenses.

Homes of Hope, Chicago, IL

First Nonprofit gets an A+ in my book. You are so easy to work with & very knowledgeable! Whether it is my quarterly correspondence with Kim or my random interactions with Dawn about a bond … I am so pleased that I get to work with such a helpful company. Thank you!

Women's Choice Network, Pittsburgh, PA