Monday, June 20, 2011

Giving USA: Americans Gave $290 Billion, Maybe

It appears giving could be heading back to normal levels.

Initial estimates showed that giving by Americans was up 3.8% in 2010 (2.1% adjusted for inflation), according to Giving USA, a publication of Giving USA Foundation.  This was an increase from $280.3 to $290.89 billion.  Despite this initial optimism, revised estimates in the report show that giving has a lot further to go before it can rebound from the lows it reached in 2008 and 2009. 

So what exactly is the state of giving in America?  Read this excerpt on the report by The NonProfit Times:

Observers still were hopeful about the increase last year, after a combined drop of more than 13 percent the past two years. As a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), charitable giving remained at 2 percent, the 14th consecutive year it’s been at least that high.

“People are starting to give a bit more, give larger gifts, and probably give to more organizations. That’s good news in this overall compilation of data,” said Edith Falk, chair, Giving USA Foundation, and chair and CEO of Chicago-based consulting firm, Campbell & Company. “The positive news is that as the economy is recovering, so is philanthropy,” she said.

Revisions to last year’s initial estimates for 2009 changed the total giving number of $303.75 billion to $280.3 billion. Final estimates for 2008 also were revised downward, from a revised $315.08 billion last year after initial estimates in 2009 of $307.65 billion. Giving USA typically revises numbers annually as more data becomes available.

“It seems like we’ve gone quite a ways back in the giving and it’s going to take us a long time to recover, unless the economy takes a giant step forward,” said Elizabeth Boris, director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. She expressed some concern about the significant revision to last year’s data. “It makes me a bit concerned about talking about $280 billion in 2009; you have to go all the way back to 2003 or 2004 to see numbers like that,” she said.

Individual giving was up by 2.7 percent, from $206.16 billion to $211.77 billion, according to estimates for 2010. Individuals continue to make up the bulk of giving, about 73 percent.

Visit The NonProfit Times for the whole scoop.

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