Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

Giving Estimated At $335.17 Billion For 2013

By Mark Hrywna - June 17, 2014

Charitable giving in the United States jumped 4.4 percent last year to an estimated $335.17 billion and was led, as usual, by individual donors supporting their favorite charities and institutions.

According to new, initial estimates for 2013 released today, that’s 3 percent more when adjusted for inflation from a revised estimate of $320.97 billion for 2012, according to the Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Preliminary estimates by Giving USA™ are based on econometric models and use historical data from Forms 990 submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as well as sources including the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Foundation Center and the National Center for Charitable Statistics. The 2013 preliminary estimates released today, which include some projections and models, will be revised annually two more times, once IRS data are compiled.

Giving to religion remained the largest swath of giving but was flat and despite corporate earnings skyrocketing, giving by corporation declined almost 2 percent after a jump of 12 percent in 2012.

Total giving has increased 22 percent (12.3 percent adjusted for inflation) since the official end of the recession in 2009. Total giving again was about 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

A return to pre-recession levels for overall charitable giving might come sooner than expected while some sectors have returned to pre-recession giving. Projections at this time last year anticipated a return to pre-recession giving could be as many as six or seven years away. The new data, however, show that if giving continues at its current 4.2-percent pace over the last two years, pre-recession levels could be reached as early as 2015.

“It could happen within the next year, but it might take two years,” said Patrick Rooney, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs and research at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. That projection could be volatile though with a big part of it depending on what happens to the stock markets, household incomes and tax policy, he added.

“There’s reason to give pause in terms of how long it’s taken us, the depth of the Great Recession and how long it’s taken us to recover,” Rooney said. “If it takes another year or two to get back to where we were before the recession, you’re basically at eight years; not a complete decade but pretty close. It’s not [a lost decade] in the sense that people continue to give but lost in sense of progress,” he said.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, five subsectors have reached or surpassed all-time high giving levels since the recession officially ended in mid-2009:

  • Education, $52.07 billion last year, up 8.9 percent / 7.4 percent for inflation;
  • Human services, $41.51 billion, up 2.2 percent / 0.7 percent for inflation;
  • Health, $31.86 billion, up 6 percent / 4.5 percent for inflation;
  • Foundations, $35.74 billion, down 15.5 percent / 16.7 percent for inflation;
  • Environmental/animal, $9.72 billion, up 7.5 percent / 6 percent for inflation.

Giving to public-society benefit organization was up 8.5 percent to $23.89 billion, or 7 percent when adjusted for inflation. Giving to individuals was estimated to have risen 1.4 percent, to $3.7 billion.

Giving to religion again was the largest by total at $105.53 billion (31 percent of giving) but was flat or down for the fifth consecutive year, declining 0.2 percent, 1.6 percent when adjusted for inflation. International affairs was the only other subsector to fall, down 6.7 percent or 8 percent inflation-adjusted, to $14.93 billion (4 percent of giving).

Last year’s initial overall estimates were revised 1.5 percent higher, from an original $316.23 billion to $321 billion. Adjustments showed somewhat higher growth of about 5.4 percent in 2012 giving. Most of the difference was attributed to a change in estimated bequest giving. Originally, estimates showed a 3.5-percent increase in giving, 1.5 percent inflation-adjusted.

Among sources of giving, only corporate giving fell last year, down 1.9 percent or 2.2 percent inflation-adjusted, to $17.88 billion. Giving by individuals was up 4.2 percent (2.7 percent inflation adjusted) and again was the largest portion of overall giving, accounting for $240.6 billion, or 72 percent of overall giving. Giving by foundations makes up the second largest portion, at $48.96 billion, or 15 percent, and increased 5.7 percent last year, 4.2 percent when adjusted for inflation. Giving by bequest was up 8.7 percent, 7.2 percent adjusted for inflation, to $27.73 billion.

The aggregate rate of growth for education since the recession has been about three times that of the charitable sector, which John Lippincott attributes to several fundamental advantages that the education sector enjoys and does a good job of using. “Education for a long time has made a strong investment in fundraising operations so they’ve got the infrastructure, databases and staff in place, and they’ve been very good at developing high-level professionalism within staff that they hire,” said the president and CEO of the Council for Aid and Support to Education (CASE).

Education can appeal to a broad array of donor interests, touching on research or economic development as well as education, while most other subsectors are very specific. “We saw this within CASE membership, education was very persistent during the recession, in terms of maintaining relationship with donors, even during a period of time when those donors were not in a position to make a gift, or the same gift as in past,” Lippincott said.

The clearest message in the numbers for Lippincott is perseverance. “The fact that institutions that kept the faith during the recession are now seeing the rewards for that, that for me is the real takeaway and a real important message,” he said.

Organizations might experiment with fundraising, try it for a couple years, stop, get mixed results or be disappointed. “You have to be in the long haul, and be persistent, to see the big payoff. That’s the key message behind 8 and 9 percent growth,” he said.

Irv Katz, president of the National Human Services Assembly in Washington, D.C., is disappointed in the small increase among human services nonprofits. A former advisor to Giving USA, Katz said some of the “borders between these categories are a little more permeable,” and some of his members might be included health, public-society benefit or religion.

There is a strong correlation between giving in general and attendance at houses of worship. “People who actively practice faith are more generous toward human services and the charitable type of service. It could speak to why neither human service and religion are growing that rapidly,” he said.

If the pace continues, the arts, culture and humanities subsector could be the next area that reaches pre-recession levels, said L. Gregg Carlson, chair of the Giving USA Foundation and president of Henderson, Nev.-based Carlson Fund Raising. In the midst of the recession, there was some reprioritizing of charitable giving to human services organizations that met basic needs. “The opera didn’t need their gift that year, the soup kitchen did,” Carlson said, which would explain the big jumps for human services charities in 2009 and 2010 while arts groups took a hit.

It wasn’t all good news coming out of the newest estimates. Some observers had their concerns. For Lippincott, the challenge is the “increasing economic stratification” among donors that’s mirrored in general society. For example, alumni giving continues to increase but alumni participation has dropped, meaning the same number or fewer alumni are giving more money. Likewise, charities in general are raising money from a shrinking donor universe.

The vast student debt also plays into the scenario. Students graduating with significant debt are going to inevitably be less inclined to make even modest contributions, Lippincott said. “If that habit or tradition of giving is not established early, it’s hard to recapture it later,” he said.

And while there may be more confidence in the economy, and signs that it’s growing, there are still large numbers of people struggling.

“People don’t perceive the human crisis as critical as they had at the height of the Great Recession,” said Katz.

The fact that many more middle-income people have sustained long-term unemployment and lower standards of living is not very visible. “A large cadre of families that are continuing to endure tough economic times but they’re not visible,” Katz said. “They are your neighbors. They may not be using the traditional relief entities like people who’ve been living with poverty for a long time. I think it’s below the surface.”

Podcast_forHub_500x500

Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.


Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!

Newsletters

Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up



click here to return to the previous page