Giving by Individuals/Households

2017 3.0 2018 3.2

Giving by individuals/households includes cash and non-cash donations contributed by all U.S. individuals and households—including those who itemize their charitable contributions on their income taxes and those who do not—to U.S. charities.

Giving by American individuals/households is predicted to increase by 3.0% in 2017 and by 3.2% in 2018.*

The current projections for giving by individuals/households for the years 2017 and 2018 are below the historical 25-year and 40-year average rates of growth for giving of this type. Individual/household giving for both years is expected to rise above the flat rate of change seen for the prior 10-year period.15 Contributions from itemizing households and non-itemizing households are included in the forecasts for individual/household giving for the years 2017 and 2018.16 Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence individual/household giving in 2017 and 2018 include:

  • Average to above-average growth in personal income,
  • Close-to-average growth in household and nonprofit net worth, and
  • An increase in the number of households that itemize deductions on their taxes.

A large body of work demonstrates, with few exceptions, the link between philanthropic giving and both household income and wealth.17 In general, as income and wealth increase, so do the amounts that households give to charity. An increase in the number of households that itemize deductions on their taxes suggests that median U.S. household income and wealth are growing. The positive relationship between nonprofit net worth and giving likely reflects a linkage between household giving and the financial health of charities. As charities grow, they are better able to invest in fundraising programs that are proven to drive household giving at the same time that households are in a better financial position to give.

 * All growth rates are based on predictions for giving in inflation-adjusted 2015 dollars using 2016 as the base year. The Philanthropy Outlook projects the growth rates of variables into 2017 and 2018; predicted growth rates are compared with the variables’ historical 10-, 25-, and 40-year annualized means. See Table 1 for these data.