Distinct from other nonprofits, many membership associations have tended to define “philanthropy” in terms of sponsorship dollars from vendors, research grants or event-style fundraising.  Giving from individuals has often been a lower priority — or even an afterthought.

The statistics say that a different orientation may be in order. The latest data from the Giving USA Foundation shows that more than $390 billion was donated in 2016, spread out over nine major philanthropy sectors including Religion, Education, Human Services and Health. Individual donors – rather than corporations and foundations — gave 80% of this massive total, a percentage that has increased over the last several years.

With that kind of money changing hands, it’s no wonder associations want to know more about how they can financially benefit from those contributed funds.

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