Navigating Giving Trends and Pittsburgh’s Resilience

By October 9, 2023Article, Events

In our ever-changing world, nonprofit organizations shine as beacons of hope, championing positive change in the face of daunting societal challenges. These organizations tackle issues spanning poverty, healthcare, education, environmental conservation, and social justice, making them indispensable in our quest for a better world. Yet, their potential for impact hinges on vital financial support, primarily from individuals who share their unwavering commitment to these causes.

At 412 Food Rescue, we’ve long championed the idea that collective action holds the key to a brighter future. The generosity of like-minded individuals fuels our mission, as it does for countless other nonprofits. To responsibly steward this support and amplify its reach, nonprofits regularly track giving trends, strategically shaping their plans to maximize community impact and ensure long-term sustainability. 

The Philanthropic Spirit of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, often referred to as the Steel City, has a heritage steeped in resilience, innovation, and community spirit. This spirit has extended to the city’s philanthropic community and fundraising efforts, making Pittsburgh a shining example of collective giving and civic engagement.

Unity is a defining characteristic of Pittsburgh’s philanthropic community. Here, nonprofits, donors, and volunteers come together, creating an ecosystem that fosters collaboration and innovation. This sense of togetherness has been instrumental in addressing some of the city’s most pressing challenges, forging a sense of purpose and collective action.

Evolution in Fundraising Landscape

In recent years, Pittsburgh’s fundraising landscape has adapted to the changing needs of its community. The city has witnessed a growing emphasis on individual giving, reflecting donors’ desire for more personalized approaches to supporting their chosen causes. This trend, facilitated by online platforms and social media, enables Pittsburghers to connect with local nonprofits and contribute instantly, effortlessly, and in ways that align with their values.

Notably, alternative methods of giving have flourished, offering avenues such as Donor Advised funds, stock contributions, and other innovative mechanisms. These options empower individuals to support their causes more flexibly, extending their philanthropic reach.

Learn about the various ways to give to 412 Food Rescue.

National Trends

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) released the FEP Q1 2023 Report last month, revealing a harsh truth: donor participation across the United States has been on a steady decline, a trend that accelerated dramatically in 2022. While donations have been on a steady incline for the past decade, the number of donors continues to decrease. This decline is more than a mere statistic; it has tangible, immediate consequences for nonprofits and their ability to serve our communities.

Major donors are also demonstrating a decline, giving almost 10% less in the first part of 2023. These big donors usually make up most–nearly three quarters–of the money that charities get, so when they give less, it makes things uncertain and shaky for charities this year.

The report also shows some worrying trends about all people who give money to charities. There are fewer new people giving money, and the charities are having a hard time keeping the people who already gave. In the first part of 2023, the number of people who kept giving after they gave once fell by almost 20%. That’s a big drop, especially since not many were giving again in the first place.

Prioritizing Grassroots Engagement

Pittsburgh’s fundraising efforts have also prioritized grassroots engagement, recognizing the significance of broad-based support in ensuring the long-term sustainability of nonprofits. This dedication to inclusivity and collective action aligns with the core values that 412 Food Rescue was founded upon and underscores why Pittsburgh has become a trailblazer in food rescue initiatives.

However, like many regions, Pittsburgh is not immune to the challenges illuminated by the FEP Q1 2023 Report. Declining donor participation, disparities between donations and donors, and the impacts of external factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have reverberated through the city’s philanthropic landscape.

A Brighter Future Through Collective Action

As Pittsburgh continues its evolution, the philanthropic community remains resolute in addressing these challenges head-on. The city’s hallmark spirit of resilience and unity will undoubtedly drive innovative solutions, ensuring nonprofits can navigate these turbulent waters.

Your support, no matter how big or small, possesses the power to be a beacon of hope for our organization and the communities we serve. But it’s not just about giving what you can; it’s also about spreading the word and encouraging others to join in. As we stand at the crossroads of challenge and opportunity, we invite you to not only contribute but also inspire others to create a brighter future for our beloved city and its residents.

Take Action:

  • Donate to our mission
  • Sign up to fundraise on #GivingTuesday this year


Questions? Email Danielle, Senior Development Manager