Giving USA: Charitable donations hit record for second year in a row

Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015 was released this week and the findings show 2015 to be America’s most generous year ever. Donations from America’s individuals, estates, foundations and corporations reached an estimated $373.25 billion in 2015, setting a record for the second year in a row, whether measured in current or inflation-adjusted dollars.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, 2015 saw total giving grow 4 percent over 2014, the previous record setting year for dollars donated. When coupled with the 6.1 percent increase in inflation-adjusted giving seen in 2014, the two-year increase for inflation-adjusted giving surpassed 10 percent.

“These findings embody more than numbers—they also are a symbol of the American spirit. It’s heartening that people really do want to make a difference, and they’re supporting the causes that matter to them” shares Giving USA Foundation Chair W. Keith Curtis, president of nonprofit consulting firm The Curtis Group, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

CFRE International President and CEO Eva E. Aldrich, M.A., CFRE was on hand as Dr. Una Osili, Professor of Economics and Director of Research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy presented the latest findings from Giving USA 2016 at an event sponsored by CCS Fundraising and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Washington, DC.

Una Osili
Dr. Una Osili presents Giving USA 2016 findings










“It’s exciting to see year-over-year growth in donations as reported in Giving USA 2016,” shared Aldrich.  “As more and more fundraising professionals demonstrate their commitment to best practices in ethical fundraising through attainment of the CFRE credential, I’m confident that the philanthropic sector will be further strengthened, and giving will continue to grow.”

Other highlights from Giving USA 2016:

  • Gifts by individuals again led the way, making up two-thirds of the year’s overall increase in total giving. An estimated $264.58 billion in gifts from individuals were given in 2015, up 3.7 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.
  • Foundation giving rose by the largest inflation adjusted percentage, reaching an estimated $58.46 billion, up 6.3%.
  • Charitable giving during 2015 was 2.1 percent of GDP, the same as 2014 and ahead of the 40-year average of 1.9 percent.
  • For the period 2010-2015 growth in charitable giving (3.6 percent annualized) outpaced GDP growth (2 percent annualized).
  • Giving to all but one major recipient sub-sector grew in 2015. Giving to foundations is estimated to have declined 4 percent when adjusted for inflation to an estimated $42.26 billion.

Follow the links below for additional nonprofit media reporting on Giving USA 2016.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The NonProfit Times

Philanthropy News Digest

NonProfit PRO

Nonprofit Quarterly

Pro Bono News (AUS)