The big news out of today’s Giving USA 2014 report was that charitable giving in the United States jumped 4.4 percent to $335.17 billion last year, giving renewed hope that the country could return to pre-recession levels of giving sooner than expected.
With the usual caveat that the numbers released today are projections and are subject to two more revisions once Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data are compiled, the new findings suggest 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. Giving USA found that giving increased by $320.97 billion for 2012.
What was driving this year’s increase in giving? Analysis of the data conducted showed that the a big driver of the numbers were four subsectors reaching or surpassing all-time high giving levels since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009:
- Education, $52.07 billion, 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; and,
- Environmental/animal, $9.72 billion, up 6.7 percent / 8 percent for inflation.
Education saw the biggest increase since last year’s report and John Lippincott, president president and CEO of the Council for Aid and Support to Education (CASE), told NPT Senior Editor Mark Hrywna that he attributes this to strong investments in fundraising operations. “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,” he said.
Other highlights from the report were:
- 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).