Giving to Public-Society Benefit


1.3 %


4.0 %

Giving to public-society benefit includes cash and non-cash donations from itemizing and non-itemizing American households to U.S. public-society benefit charities, including independent research facilities, community development organizations, human and civil rights organizations, philanthropy associations, commercial donor-advised funds, United Ways, federated charities, and other types of organizations.

Giving to public-society benefit is predicted to increase by 1.3% in 2019 and by 4.0% in 2020.xvii

The projections for giving to public-society benefit in 2019 are below the historical 10-year, 25-year, and 40-year annualized average rates of growth for giving of this type.45 In 2020, public-society benefit giving is predicted to surpass the historical 10-year annualized average growth rate, but will be lower than the 25-year and 40-year annualized averages.

Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence public-society benefit giving in 2019 and 2020 include:

  • Close-to-average growth in household and nonprofit net worth,
  • Above-average growth in total giving,
  • Growth in consumer expenditures on foreign travel, and
  • Growth in consumer expenditures on recreation services in the preceding years.

These factors account for the majority of the predicted growth in giving to public-society benefit in these years.46

Giving to public-society benefit organizations tends to be affected by trends that influence consumer behavior regarding luxury expenditures. This finding implies that this particular subsector may not be as resistant to economic downturns as other areas of giving.

  • xvii All growth rates are based on predictions for giving in inflation-adjusted 2017 dollars using 2018 as the base year. The Philanthropy Outlook projects the growth rates of variables into 2019 and 2020; predicted growth rates are compared with the variables’ historical 10-, 25-, and 40-year annualized means. See Table 1 for these data.