USA Giving Donation Statistics Report

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With the 2012 report quickly approaching, let’s revisit the 2011 report.  Here is some interesting data from the Giving Statistics USA report for 2011.

giving statisticsGiving Statistics in the U.S. in 2010 showed a modest uptick over adjusted numbers for 2009, according to Giving USA. The report, released this week by the Giving USA Foundation™ and its research partner, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, showed that total charitable contributions from American individuals, corporations and foundations were an estimated $290.89 billion in 2010, up from a revised estimate of $280.30 billion for 2009. The 2010 estimate represents growth of 3.8 percent in current dollars and 2.1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

The revised estimates for 2008 and 2009 show that 2008 and 2009 saw the largest drops in giving in more than 40 years as a result of the Great Recession, according to the Giving USA Foundation™, exceeding the impact on giving of previous recessions.

The estimated $10 billion increase suggests that giving statistics are beginning to recover as the economy slowly climbs out of the recession. Statistics over the past 40 years indicate that giving has closely tracked the economy. And while market swings over the past decade may have left some practitioners feeling like large fluctuations are the norm, fundraisers should understand that the longer-term trends show that slow growth is the norm, according to members of the Foundation Board.


Methodology and Giving Estimates

Individual giving rose an estimated 2.7 percent in 2010, to $211.77 billion (1.1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars). In estimating individual giving statistics for 2010, the model included a new variable for inflation-adjusted change from the previous year – personal consumption – as well as variables used in prior years.

As anticipated in reports beginning in early 2009, Giving USA shows that grant making by private, community and operating foundations was down slightly. Foundation giving was $41 billion in 2010, down 0.2 percent in current dollars and 1.8 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Driven in part by disaster response in 2010, corporate giving rose to an estimated $15.29 billion, up 10.6 percent in current dollars (8.8 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars). The 2010 numbers for corporate giving also reflect gifts of in-kind donations on behalf of American companies, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector. We would like to see this rise even further with Payline Giving.

Changes in Giving Statistics

While giving remained steady or was up slightly for many sectors, giving to the arts, public-society benefit, and international affairs fared better than most. Giving to education saw an increase for the first time in three years.

Giving to education rose to an estimated $41.67 billion, an increase of 5.2 percent in current dollars (3.5 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars). This is the first year of an increase in giving after two years of declines. Educational organizations received an estimated 14 percent of the total.

Giving to public-society benefit organizations was an estimated $24.24 billion, an increase of 6.2 percent in current dollars (4.5 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars). This subsector, which includes certain types of donor-advised funds as well as umbrella organizations such as United Way, Combined Federal Campaign and United Jewish Appeal that collect donations and redistribute them to other charitable organizations, received 8 percent of the total. The increase in giving to this sub-sector can in part be attributed to growth in freestanding donor-advised funds. Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund, for example, reported contributions above $1.6 billion in 2010, which was a 42 percent increase over 2009. It may also reflect special appeals through umbrella organizations in 2010 to respond to significantly increased demand for services to address poverty and homelessness.

Giving to arts, culture and humanities organizations rose an estimated 5.7 percent in current dollars (4.1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars), to $13.28 billion. This subsector was 5 percent of the 2010 total. Because giving to the arts is driven generally by high-net worth donors, this increase suggests a recovery in giving tied to recovery of portfolio values among these donors.

Giving to international affairs – a relatively new sector making up 5 percent of the total giving pie – increased an estimated 15.3 percent in current dollars (13.5 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars) to $15.77 billion.

Giving to religion, at 35 percent of the total, remains the largest share of all contributions, with an estimated $100.63 billion. The estimated increase in 2010 was 0.8 percent in current dollars, with a small decline of the same amount, 0.8 percent, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Giving to foundations rose slightly to $33 billion, an increase of 1.9 percent in current dollars (0.2 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars). The Foundation Center and the Center on Philanthropy jointly estimate contributions to this type of recipient. This includes private, community and operating foundations. This subsector received an estimated 11 percent of the total.

Giving to human services is estimated to be $26.49 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent in current dollars but a decrease of 1.5 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars. This subsector received an estimated 9 percent of the total. Human services includes the majority of the $1.43 billion donated to Haiti disaster relief. The Center on Philanthropy’s disaster giving research estimates that 75 percent ($1.07 billion) of those gifts were given to human services organizations. If giving to Haiti disaster relief were not included, giving to human services would have declined by 4 percent in current dollars. The other 25 percent of Haiti relief giving ($0.36 billion) was contributed to international relief organizations and is included in the international affairs subsector.

Giving to health also shows an estimated increase, to $22.83 billion (1.3 percent in current dollars or a decline of 0.3 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars). This subsector received 8 percent of the total.

Giving statistics to environment/animal-related organizations declined 0.7 percent in current dollars (a decline of 2.3 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars), to an estimated $6.66 billion. This was 2 percent of the total.

Giving statistics to individuals includes grants from foundations to benefit named individuals. Most often, these are gifts of medications to patients in need and are made by operating foundations created by pharmaceutical manufacturers. These gifts are estimated to have remained relatively steady in 2010, at $4.20 billion or 2 percent of the total.

Every year, Giving USA also calculates the unallocated piece of the giving statistics “pie;” for 2010, it is estimated to be $2.12 billion, or 1 percent of all giving. These are dollars that cannot be attributed to any one particular sector.

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