Do you feel like giving was up last year? Do you feel like it was down? Well, either way you could be right.
According to the findings of Giving USA, 2018 was an uneven year for philanthropy, with some subsectors experiencing significant increases, while others saw significant decreases.
It was also a year that saw three unprecedented things: 1) a record year for giving at $427 billion, 2) for the first time since Giving USA began in 1954 individual giving was less than 70% of all giving, and 3) giving to Religion reached its lowest point in more than 40 years, falling to 29%.
Total giving increased in 2018 in current dollars, but just barely, at a rate of 0.7%. Adjusted for inflation giving actually decreased by 1.7%.
Five subsectors saw giving decline, while four saw increases. The biggest increase came in giving to International Affairs, while the largest decrease was in giving to Foundations.
As in previous years, giving by Individuals is the number one source of gifts at 69%, but declined by 1.1% from its 2017 level. Giving from Foundations, many of which are family foundations, increased 7.3%.
While Religion continues to be the number one recipient of gifts, giving to Religion continues to lose market share, reaching an all-time low of just 29% of the pie and actually decreased by more than 1.5% in current dollars. While the trend of a declining percentage of giving to Religion has been ongoing for years, the actual decline in current-dollar giving to Religion is a unique phenomenon; one that has never happened in a non-recession year.
Below, is a quick look at the numbers. We will share more in-depth information in our upcoming sector newsletters.
David H. King
President & CEO
Quick Look At The Results
The Numbers for 2018 Charitable Giving by Source:
- Giving by individuals totaled an estimated $292.09 billion, decreasing 1.1% in 2018 in current dollars. The only source that decreased between 2017 and 2018.
- Giving by foundations increased 7.3% between 2017 and 2018, to an estimated $75.86 billion in 2018. Between 2016 and 2017 giving increased 12.0%. The cumulative change in current-dollar giving by foundations between 2016 and 2018 is 20.2%. This is the greatest percent increase of any source in this period.
- Giving by bequest remained virtually unchanged in current dollars between 2017 and 2018-to $39.71 billion. Adjusted for inflation, giving by bequest decreased 2.3% in 2018.
- Giving by corporations increased by an estimated 5.4% in current dollars from 2017 to 2018, totaling $20.05 billion. In current dollars, giving by corporations decreased by 2.0% between 2016 and 2017, and increased 5.4% between 2017 and 2018. The cumulative change in current-dollar giving by corporations between 2016 and 2018 is 3.4%.
The Numbers for 2018 Charitable Giving to Recipients
- Giving to religion decreased 1.5% in current dollars from 2017, totaling $124.52 billion in 2018. Adjusted for inflation, contributions to religion decreased 3.9% in 2018. Accounting for 29% of total giving, this is the first time that giving to religion has fallen below 30% of overall giving.
- Giving to education decreased 1.3% in current dollars from 2017-to $58.72 billion in 2018. Adjusted for inflation, contributions decreased 3.7% in 2018. In 2017, giving to this subsector reached the highest inflation-adjusted value recorded to date..
- Giving to human services decreased 0.3% from 2017, totaling $51.54 billion in 2018 in current dollars. Adjusted for inflation, contributions decreased 2.7% between 2017 and 2018. In 2017, donations to this subsector totaled the highest inflation-adjusted amount recorded to date.
- Giving to [grant-making] foundations decreased 6.9% in current dollars from 2017-to $50.29 billion in 2018. Adjusted for inflation, contributions to foundations decreased 9.1% in 2018.
- Giving to health organizations grew 0.1% from 2017, totaling $40.78 billion in 2018 in current dollars. Adjusted for inflation, contributions to health decreased 2.3% between 2017 and 2018.
- Giving to public-society benefit declined 3.7% in current dollars from 2017, for a total of $31.21 billion in 2018. The cumulative change in giving to public-society benefit between 2016 and 2018 is 2.1% in current dollars. Contributions to this subsector reached the highest inflation-adjusted value recorded to date in 2017.
- Giving to arts, culture, and humanities increased 0.3% from 2017, totaling $19.49 billion in 2018 in current dollars. Cumulatively, current-dollar giving to this subsector increased 13.8% between 2016 and 2018.
- Giving to international affairs increased 9.6% in current dollars from 2017-to $22.88 billion in 2018. The cumulative change in giving to this subsector between 2016 and 2018 is 5.2% in current dollars. Giving to the international affairs recorded the highest inflation-adjusted value in 2015, at $25.09 billion.
- Giving to environment and animal organizations increased 3.6% in current dollars from 2017, totaling $12.70 billion in 2018. Donations to the environment/animals reached the highest inflation-adjusted amount recorded to date in 2018.
- Unallocated giving represents 2% of total giving at $6.53 billion in current dollars in 2018.