U.S. charitable donations fell last year

A report released on Wednesday by Giving USA shows that donations to charity fell to $499 billion last year, a 3.4% decrease from 2021. The decline was even more stark—10.5%—when accounting for inflation.

Every listed giving source declined in inflation-adjusted giving last year, with the largest decrease evident in gifts from individuals, which fell by 13.4%.

Economic headwinds are the most likely reason for this decline. The rise of interest rates, drop in the stock markets, and fears of a recession were front of mind for donors of all kinds. Unsurprisingly, the largest decline among individuals was from micro-donors, who give less than $100.

But Giving USA’s report included some notable bright spots. Donations to international affairs organizations increased by 10.9% as American donors responded to global events. Likewise, giving to foundations was up by 10.1% as accumulated savings were committed to philanthropic initiatives.

This year, the resilience of the U.S. economy, in particular the strong labor market, and the rebound of the stock market should boost giving. 

Foundations and donor-advised funds in particular stand to benefit from the stronger economic outlook, as corporations and high net worth individuals look to distribute the funds they’ve earmarked for philanthropic endeavors.

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This article was written by Matt Haggerty and originally appeared on 2023-08-01.
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