Charitable giving continued its upward trend in 2015, as an estimated $373 billion was given to charitable causes. For the second year in a row, total giving reached record levels, and taking 2014 and 2015 together, charitable giving has increased over 10% (using inflation-adjusted dollars). This increase and the overall size of charitable contributions is further testament to the integral role charities play in our society, a role which continues to grow.
But do individual donors recognize the power of their donations? In 2015, the largest portion of charitable giving came from individuals and totaled $264.58 billion. Individuals were also responsible for two-thirds of the overall increase in charitable giving from 2014.
How much do we give?
- Total giving to charitable organizations was $373.25 billion in 2015 (2.1% of GDP). This is an increase of 4.1% in current dollars and 4% in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2014.
- This is the sixth straight year that giving has increased and the second straight record-setting year, following 2014’s total of $358.38 billion.
- Comparing GDP growth and change in charitable giving over 2010-2015, the average increase in giving to charitable causes (3.6%) is greater than the growth of GDP (2%).
Who is giving?
- As in previous years, the majority of that giving came from individuals. Specifically, individuals gave $264.58 billion, accounting for 71% of all giving and representing a 3.8% increase over 2014 (3.7% when adjusted for inflation).
- Giving by bequest was up 2.1% in current dollars (or 1.9% when adjusted for inflation) to $31.76 billion.
- Foundations gave $58.46 billion which represented an increase of 6.5% (or 6.3% when adjusted for inflation).
- Corporations donated $18.45 billion for an increase of 3.9% (or 3.8% when adjusted for inflation).
Where do the donations go?
- International organizations saw the largest increase and the first increase in three years. Giving to International organizations was up by 17.5%, totaling $15.75 billion. This may be due to an increase in the number of large international organizations, or that giving in this area took longer to recover from the recession.
- The portion of charitable giving going towards Religion increased for the second year in a row, going up by 2.7% from 2014 to $57.48 billion.
- Giving to Foundations was the only area where donations decreased, a decrease of 3.8% from 2014, totaling $42.26 billion.
- Contributions to Education organizations continue to steadily increase, this year by 8.9% to a total of $57.48 billion.
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