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Slow Growth in US Giving


Thursday, 20th June 2013 at 9:27 am
Staff Reporter
Americans donated an estimated $316.23 billion to charitable causes in 2012 - a modest 3.5 percent gain in total giving contributions, according to the latest Giving USA Foundation research.

Thursday, 20th June 2013
at 9:27 am
Staff Reporter


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Slow Growth in US Giving
Thursday, 20th June 2013 at 9:27 am

Americans donated an estimated $316.23 billion to charitable causes in 2012 – a modest 3.5 percent gain in total giving contributions, according to the latest Giving USA Foundation research.

The biggest winners were contributions to arts, culture, education and humanities organisations which rose an estimated 7.8 percent last year.

“When you consider all the factors that go into determining how much we give to charity, modest growth makes sense and is actually encouraging,” Gregg Carlson, chair of the Foundation, which publishes Giving USA said.

“Most households feel pressured at every economic corner, but the longstanding social contract between Americans and the non-profits they believe in remains resilient and intact; many see giving as a core budget item. The amount devoted to that category might shift up or down with annual economic realities, but it doesn’t go away.”

Research results include:

•Giving by individuals rose to $228.93 billion in 2012, an estimated 3.9 percent increase (1.9 percent adjusted for inflation). Income and wealth are key drivers of household giving, as is a sense of financial security. Giving by taxpayers who itemise their gifts represented 81 percent of the total donated by individuals in 2012.

•Giving by bequest decreased an estimated 7 percent in 2012 (8.9 percent adjusted for inflation) to $23.41 billion. Itemising estates contributed 78 percent of the total, or $18.31 billion. Bequest giving tends to be volatile from year to year, as it is highly influenced by very large gifts from estates that closed during that year.

•Giving by corporations rose 12.2 percent in 2012 (9.9 percent adjusted for inflation), to an estimated $18.15 billion, including gifts from both corporations and their foundations. The two entities provide cash, in-kind donations and grants. Increasing the 2012 total was the estimated $131 million corporations gave to non-profits working on relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

•Giving by foundations increased 4.4 percent (2.3 percent adjusted for inflation) to an estimated $45.74 billion in 2012, according to figures provided by the Foundation Center. Giving by community foundations grew 9.1 percent last year, which helped to bolster the total. Operating and independent foundations increased grant making by 3.5 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

•Charities focused on the environment and animals also saw significant growth (6.8 percent) in 2012 over 2011.

•International giving, which had seen very high growth rates in some recent years, leveled off in 2012 to a modest estimated increase of 2.5 percent.

•Giving to religion was virtually flat (a -0.2 percent decline) between 2011 and 2012, with contributions estimated to be $101.54 billion. Adjusted for inflation, giving to religion declined 2.2 percent. Religious organisations, comprised mostly of houses of worship, continue to receive the largest share of total U.S. charitable giving (32 percent) in 2012.

•Giving to education increased an estimated 7 percent between 2011 and 2012 (4.9 percent adjusted for inflation), to $41.33 billion. The bulk of donations in this category (upward of 75 percent) go to four-year colleges and universities.

•Giving to human services totaled $40.40 billion in 2012. This estimate is a 3.8 percent increase over 2011 (1.8 percent adjusted for inflation). It includes $223 million given to support organisations working on Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery efforts.

•Giving to foundations is estimated to have declined by 4.6 percent in 2012 (a decline of 6.5 percent adjusted for inflation), to $30.58 billion.

•Giving to health organisations increased an estimated 4.9 percent between 2011 and 2012 (2.8 percent adjusted for inflation), with $28.12 billion in total contributions.

•Giving to public-society benefit organisations increased an estimated 5.4 percent in 2012 (3.3 percent adjusted for inflation), to $21.63 billion. The total was likely bolstered by continued strong growth in charitable gifts to national donor-advised funds. This category also included $54 million contributed to organisations assisting people affected by Hurricane Sandy.

•Giving to arts, culture, and humanities totaled an estimated $14.44 billion in 2012, a 7.8 percent increase from 2011 (5.7 percent adjusted for inflation).

•Giving to environmental and animal organisations saw an estimated 6.8 percent increase in 2012 (4.7 percent adjusted for inflation), to $8.30 billion.

Giving USA’s annual estimates are based on econometric models using tax data, government estimates for economic indicators and information from other research institutions. Data sources for the 2013 report include the Internal Revenue Service, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Foundation Center, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, Council for Aid to Education, and the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute (NCCS), among others.

Visit Giving USA for more information.



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