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Charity Facts and Figures

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Posted at 11:56 AM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-01 14:56:55-05

You know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday – but are you aware of Giving Tuesday? Giving Tuesday is a recent invention – so recent, it is often preceded with a hashtag. It was started in 2012 on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and has been gaining in popularity as a symbol of charity to counteract the excess commercialism of the start of the holiday shopping season.

Will Giving Tuesday catch on? So far, the results are promising. The Giving Tuesday donations in 2013 were up by 73 percent over the initial event in 2012, and are estimated to have grown even further by nearly 63 percent in 2014.

Regardless of the effects of Giving Tuesday, charitable giving is making an overall recovery after the hit it took during the Great Recession. Here are a few facts about America’s charitable giving last year.

Total Giving in Dollars – Charity Navigator notes that total gifts to charity in 2013 reached over $335 billion, continuing the trend for four straight years of increased giving with a 4.4 percent jump. A similar increase would raise 2014 levels over the pre-recession (2007) mark of $349.5 billion.

Total of Giving Households – According to the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), the vast majority of us participate in some sort of charitable giving – a whopping 95.4% of households in 2013. Many of these contributions are small, but the average household contribution is a respectable $2,974.

People Outgive Corporations – Individual spirit still drives our charity. 72% of our giving ($241.32 billion) came from individuals, with the remainder contributed by foundations, bequests, and corporations (15%, 8% and 5% respectively).

A Good Year at the Top – The top 400 charities had another successful year according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, with a collective increase in donations of nearly 11%. Charity Navigator attributes much of this increase to wealthier Americans, which would also explain the above statistic about individual giving.

When Do We Give? – According to the BlackBaud 2013 Charitable Giving Report, over one-third of charitable giving takes place in the last quarter of the year. December alone accounts for 17.5% of the total. We assume that is likely due to the combination of reminders of need during the holiday season (such as Giving Tuesday), increased solicitations, and maximizing charitable tax deductions before the year’s end.

Online Giving On the Rise – The ease of online giving may be helping charitable efforts. It is certainly claiming a greater share of giving, growing 13.5% in 2013 to total 6.4% of all charitable giving.

Many Choices – Can’t find a charitable organization that you like? If so, you are not trying very hard. In 2013, there were over 1.5 million charitable organizations to choose from, according to NPT. Maybe you are just having trouble making up your mind….

America the Charitably Predictable – Americans predictably give around 3% of their collective income to charity. We have done so for decades, according to Charity Navigator.

Charity and Stocks – NPT adds another unusual but understandable correlation. Charitable giving tends to increase at around one-third the rate of the stock market – which should make for a banner year in 2014, and based on early predictions, at least the first part of 2015.
Based on the above statistics, you are likely to have participated in charitable giving in 2014 as well. If so, thanks for your efforts. No matter what size or to what organization, it is another step toward surpassing pre-recession giving levels and addressing needs worldwide.

If you have not participated in charitable giving, it is not too late to join in the fun. Please give whatever you can, and feel the satisfaction that comes with helping those in need.

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