The Blackbaud Index

Your Source for Charitable and Online Giving Trends

The Blackbaud Index tracks long term trends in charitable giving, and provides you with a monthly snapshot of year-over-year percentage changes in the overall and online giving trends in the UK. It is updated on the first of each month.

What is the Blackbaud Index?

Chuck Longfield

Economic conditions, political changes and market fluctuations have made it extremely difficult for non-profits to make fundraising decisions informed by the latest donor behavior. That is why our Chief Scientist, Chuck Longfield (right) created The Blackbaud Index — to provide a monthly snapshot insight into overall and online giving trends in the UK.

We report the Index as a three-month moving median of year-over-year percent changes in giving. What exactly does this mean? Each month, we add up all of the giving for the prior three months and compare this total to the same three months one year earlier. Then we calculate the annual percentage change for each organisation in our Index. Why do we do it like this? Well, many organisations have big campaigns that occur at roughly the same time each year. However, if an event was in late April one year but early May the next, the change in monthly giving might be significant while the change in giving over a three-month period might actually be the same. An index based on a moving median is less sensitive to these small timing issues and will serve as a more practical decision-making tool.

How does The Blackbaud Index work?

Each month, we use the actual giving statistics of hundreds of UK organisations to determine how much revenue was raised in the prior month. We include giving from all sources of fundraising activities: direct mail, telemarketing, face-to-face fundraising, email, online, mobile giving, events, and major giving. We do not include the unfulfilled portion of pledge gifts, but we do include the donated value of in-kind gifts. We include giving from individuals, corporations and foundations, but do not include gifts to private and community foundations or other intermediaries. To include these gifts would double-count the revenue when those organisations subsequently make grants to other non-profits. Lastly, we do include adjustments made to gifts (e.g. bounced cheques) to provide a more accurate accounting of real revenues. As a result, you may find that previous months’ values change slightly with each release, as we obtain newly-adjusted data from each organisation. 

Questions about the Index? Read about the methodology, or contact us at info@blackbaudinstitute.com.