Growing costs, more charities creates more discerning donors

Each year, the fundraising goals seem to be higher and requests for donations more prevalent from nonprofit groups and social service agencies in Grand Forks.

Shoppers are asked to give while standing in the checkout line, employees are assembled during the work day for presentations from local charities and donation advertisements permeate social media pages.

Local nonprofit leaders say the increasing requests and fundraising goals reflect growing needs, higher operation costs and the creation of new programs and services.

In addition, new nonprofits pop up each year, increasing the number of fundraisers and competition for monetary gifts.

So far, donations seem to be keeping up with the mounting requests.

“The thing is, everybody only has one pocket,” said Pat Berger, president of the area United Way.

The seemingly constant requests from a growing number of groups have donors rethinking how and where they give, according to Kristi Mishler, executive director of the area Community Foundation. The foundation manages gifts from donors and gave out nearly $900,000 in grants in 2012.

“My belief is donors are asked from so many directions to give and support many worthy causes,” Mishler wrote in an email. “Donors want to help support people in need and make the community a better place to live. However, they are becoming more strategic in how they give.”

Despite donors being more discerning, charitable giving continues to grow in the United States. The total amount of donations for the country grew from $864 billion in 2000 to $1.6 trillion in 2011, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Data shows individuals were responsible for $217.8 billion of those donations in 2011.

To read more about local needs, charity competition  and what local organizations are doing to adjust to pickier donors, click here.