By: Giana Humphrey
Recently, I was able to attend the AFP Greater Atlanta Chapter meeting for the Giving USA Annual Report debut presentation. The Giving USA Annual Report is the most respected and longest-running annual update on national philanthropic trends and statistics. Each year it is illuminating to learn what types of organizations Americans are supporting and the ways in which donors are choosing to give. This year’s Giving USA data reports that “U.S. charities surged to an estimated $410.02 billion in 2017. Giving exceeded $400 billion in a single year for the first time, increasing 5.2 percent over the revised total of $389.64 contributed in 2016.”
Overall, Americans are choosing to give to a wide array of charitable causes and interests. While foundation giving grew the most, coming in second were donations to organizations in the arts, culture, and humanity sector. In order to apply the data to help with your cause partnerships, we have outlined a few important highlights.
Highlights about Charitable Giving by Source:
- Sources of giving haven’t changed over time.
- Giving by individuals represented 70 percent of total giving, half of which is family foundations.
- Giving by foundations has seen strong growth for the past seven years, according to data provided by the Foundation Center. Its five-year annualized average growth rate of 7.6 percent far exceeds the 4.3 percent annualized average growth rate for total giving. This is heavily driven by the value of their assets (must give away 5% of their assets each year).
- Corporate giving was boosted by $405 million in contributions for relief related to natural and manmade disasters (hurricanes, floods, etc.). This resulted in the decrease in international giving, because people would rather help in the US than abroad.
- Giving by bequest growth shows that people are still planning philanthropically with their estates.
Highlights about 2017 Charitable Giving to Recipients
- Giving to religion has been on a growth trajectory, but the percentage of giving to religion is on a decline. In fact, it’s the lowest it’s ever been at 31%, with market share eroding this giving.
- Membership is declining – millennials and Generation X are the least church attending group in the history of the country
- Religious congregations are the last sub-sector to professionalize stewardship/development
- Giving to foundations saw the largest growth in charitable contributions, increasing 15.5%, based on data provided by the Foundation Center. This growth was driven by extraordinarily large gifts by major philanthropists, such as Michael and Susan Dell and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.
- Arts organizations are the first to experience a decline in giving when recessions hit
With over 1.28 million 501c3 organizations in the country, nonprofits must be able to differentiate themselves to both individual and corporate donors in order to stand out from the crowd. The Giving USA Report helps organizations better understand the giving landscape and adapt to the changes in donor and foundation behaviors.
Purchase the full Giving USA Report here.
Interested in more Cause Marketing stats? Look no further than our Cause Statistics Resource here.