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Charitable Giving in the US: Contributions to the Health Sector

In 2014, charitable giving to nonprofit organizations in the health sector reached a total of $30.37 billion – a total of 8 percent of all donations received by charities in 2014, according to Giving USA 2015: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. The health sector continues to grow at an increasingly steady pace. Contributions to health organizations increased by 5.5 percent from 2013. This increase in charitable giving to health organizations is a positive indicator during this time of ongoing change for the sector. Below are some key findings and recommendations that are intended to help health organizations prepare for their future in fundraising.

Key Finding

  • Giving to the health sector grew by 5.5 percent between 2013 and 2014 and has also reached its highest-level to date – $30.37 billion. The two-year change in giving to health between 2012 and 2014 is an increase of 11.8 percent. 


  • The health sector received the fifth-largest share of charitable dollars in 2014 following religion, education, human services, and foundations.

  • Contributions donated via online to health organizations have strengthened compared to previous years, which exhibits growing comfort amongst donors giving through online channels, according to Blackbaud’s 2014 Charitable Giving Report.

Key Recommendations

  • Big visions lead to big gifts. Big gifts move the needle, and we know that people are willing to make big gifts to bold and inspired visions. Think about how you’re gathering stakeholders internally – executive leadership, physicians and other key clinicians and researchers – to develop visions that lead to giving opportunities that will inspire support.

  • Understand your donor’s motivations. The data shows that the health sector still holds strong as a destination for philanthropy in the U.S. In order to leverage the sector’s strength, it is important to understand your donor types and identify how donors connect with your cause. The key to attracting donor interest is pinpointing their motivations for gratitude, and harnessing institutional resources to convert that emotion into philanthropy.

  • Use your data wisely. While individual major and annual gifts are the most readily visible opportunities, make sure you’re scouring your data to locate individuals who may be giving through family foundations and donor advised funds – and don’t neglect those consistent donors who may be your best prospects for planned or deferred gifts. All of your donors matter.

  • Healthcare continues to evolve. The Affordable Care Act has significantly impacted healthcare business models – making philanthropy more important. While consolidation offers financial and operational strength for a healthcare institution’s core mission, fundraising must continue to begin at the point of care, and grow from there.

Questions? Please contact Adam Wilhelm. We are happy to further discuss Giving USA 2015 overall and sector specific recommendations with you.

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Adam Wilhelm
About Adam Wilhelm A hands-on collaborator, Adam Wilhelm engages organizational leadership and Boards and translates their visions into implementable activities for fundraising teams. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated consummate...
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