I always look at this day as somewhat of a “holiday,” a day of anticipation. I can appreciate that some outside of the consulting and nonprofit sectors would find this fascination to be a bit odd. Sure, it is not for everyone, but I’m always intrigued because today marked the release of the annual Giving USA report. What’s Giving USA?
· Giving USA is the longest-running, annual report on charitable giving in the United States.
· It contains estimates for the sources of giving and amounts received by organization-type.
· It’s published by the Giving USA Foundation
· Started in 1956 by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel, now The Giving Institute
· Made possible by contributions from The Giving Institute member firms, foundations and other donors
· Researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
This report is always insightful, and it will be quoted in articles regarding philanthropy and giving, for the remainder of the year. Personally, I will be quoting some of the information in working with nonprofits and their Boards on fundraising and development. So, what are the quick takeaways from the report?
Remember the clamoring about how giving was going to be negatively impacted in 2019 by tax law changes, societal norms and the tendency of certain generations to give less than others? Well, giving in 2019 was actually up! In fact, total giving reached $449.64 billion in 2019, a 4.2 percent increase in current dollars and a 2.4 percent increase in inflation-adjusted dollars over 2018. The total giving amounted to $449.6 Billion to be exact, and that was compared to $427.7 the year before.
Giving in the USA actually increased to 2.1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That’s the highest level since 2004. Giving to Religion and Education remain at the top of the list.
All of this demonstrates that giving was not only on track in 2019, but it accelerated a bit. Now, it’s time to get to work on 2020. Next year at this time we’ll be assessing whether or not the pandemic had as much impact as is expected. Let’s hope, like this year, we’re pleasantly surprised.