A Changing Landscape

You’ve probably heard the phrase “cash is king.” But is that still true?

  • Two-fifths of Americans used no cash in 2022 (Source: Pew Research)
  • 11% of US adults have completely stopped using cash, up from 5% five years ago (Source: Gallup)
  • The average number of cash payments fell from 26% in 2019 to 20% in 2021 (Source: Federal Reserve)
  • Between 2012 and 2022, check transactions declined by almost half. The Federal Reserve of Philadelphia has even predicted that paper checks will be obsolete by 2026.(Source: Federal Reserve)

And in the philanthropic world, Giving USA’s 2023 report showed a 6.4% decrease in individual giving in 2022. But we know that Qualified Charitable Distributions and Donor-Advised Funds (both of which come from individuals) grew at a rapid rate. So, can we conclude that cash giving is going down even faster than 6.4%?

By “cash giving” we mean hard cash, checks, credit cards, PayPal, Venmo, etc. It's gifts that come from money a donor can immediately access and give to your organization.

Cash gifts also suffer from pre-inflation anchor points. Donors who have been giving $500 in cash annually for 10 years are not increasing their gifts to compensate for the decreased purchasing power. So, the same cash gifts are worth less every year.

Try Something New!

Here is the secret about non-cash giving: research shows that reminding people about their investments and assets may provide multiple benefits to them while also allowing them to support your cause in a more significant way. By including smart giving options (alongside cash) in your normal fundraising outreach you have the potential to:

  • Get a larger gift (and learn who has such assets)
  • Increase the size of your cash gifts by recommending a donor use an option such as their Donor Advised Fund (DAF).

Start with your next fundraising email appeal, including an ask for smart gifts like stock and donor advised funds. For example:

“Please consider donating today, using credit card, gifts of stock or a gift from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF).”

Place a link to “give stock,” and “give from my Donor-Advised Fund (DAF)” on your main donate page — not just your “Ways to Give” page.

Open the Door to New Conversations

By trying something new and telling your donors and prospects that your organization is open to receiving non-cash donations, you open the door for them to receive the meaningful benefits of a non-cash gift and greater impact in return.

For your nonprofit, the biggest benefit is often once you show donors that their gift does not have to come from their checking or savings account, a whole new giving scenario opens for them. It could start new and different conversations with your donors/prospects once you expand your fundraising to include non-cash giving.



As you start a new year, you might have a long list of work resolutions. We’re not here to add to your list, but to give you some ideas on how to make those resolutions a reality. Why not try something new?




Posted by Robyn Furness-Fallin
Robyn Furness-Fallin

Written by Robyn Furness-Fallin

Robyn Furness-Fallin, CFRE, offers financial development and volunteer leadership consulting for nonprofits and higher ed. As a Senior Consultant with DBD Group, Robyn is a shrewd strategist who helps bring clarity and focus to the campaigns she supports.

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