Record High US Charitable Giving Grows for Fifth Straight Year

Record High US Charitable Giving Grows for Fifth Straight Year

June 30, 2015 by jga_admin
The 60th edition of Giving USA, released June 16, 2015, showed continued growth in charitable giving in the year 2014. Americans gave an estimated $358.38 billion to charity in 2014, surpassing the peak last seen before the Great Recession. That total slightly exceeded the benchmark year of 2007, when giving hit an estimated inflation adjusted total of $355.17 billion.

In addition, 2014 marked the fifth year in a row where giving went up; the average annual increase over the last five years was 5.5 % in current dollars (3.4 % when inflation adjusted), but 2014 saw a 7.1% increase in giving. The researchers of Giving USA contribute the continued increase in giving to an overall healthier American economy, particularly increases in S&P 500 with 11.4% growth and 3.9% growth in personal consumption, both key indicators of individual giving.

A 5.7% increase in individual giving in 2014 accounted for 58% of last year’s total growth in giving and made the greatest impact on the increase in total giving. In addition, 2014 saw several mega-gifts, gifts greater than $200 million, primarily donated by young technology entrepreneurs.

The good news continues, as all four sources that comprise total giving increased as well:

  • Giving by individuals (72% of total giving) increased by 5.7%;
  • Giving by foundations (15%) increased by 8.2%;
  • Bequest giving (8%) increased by 15.5%; and
  • Giving by corporations (8%), increased by 13.7%.

One key implication of this news for nonprofits is that they can now shift their focus from regaining ground lost due to the drop in giving during the recession to increasing and expanding donor support.

Overall, giving increased across the board for almost all categories of nonprofits. All but one category of charitable organizations (international giving) saw an increase in their donations in 2014 over 2013, and six of those charitable categories exceeded their record high donations when adjusted for inflation.

Giving to religion continues to be an area for concern, however. While it still accounts for the largest percentage of US charitable donations and reached a record high of $114.90 billion in donations in 2014, religious giving as a portion of all giving is continuing a long term trend of losing ground. In 2014, giving to religion represented just 32% of total giving in 2014, versus 53% of all giving in 1987.

Here is a look at how giving to each of the subsectors fared in 2014, in current dollars:

  • Religion increased 2.5%, to an estimated $114.9 billion;
  • Education increased 4.9%, to $54.62 billion;
  • Human Services increased 3.6%, to $42.10 billion;
  • Foundations increased 1.8%, to$41.62 billion;
  • Health increased by 5.5%, to $30.37 billion;
  • Public-Society Benefit organizations increased by 5.1%, to $26.29 billion;
  • Arts, Culture, and Humanities increased the fastest at 9.2%, to $17.23 billion;
  • Environment and Animal organizations increased 7.0%, to $10.50 billion; and
  • Giving to International Affairs decreased 2.0%, to $15.10 billion.

As a proud Giving Institute member and sponsor of Giving USA, JGA was granted advance access and in-depth briefings on the latest Giving USA report. We look forward to sharing with you a deeper analysis of the data in our June 30th webinar. Patrick Rooney, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, leads the Giving USA research team and will join Angela White, Senior Consultant and CEO of Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, from 1 – 2 p.m. EDT to discuss the report and the analysis behind the numbers.

Register now for this free webinar to dig into what these trends mean and how to interpret the numbers and understand their impact on your advancement efforts.