Giving to Public-Society Benefit

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, national donor-advised funds, United Ways, federated charities, and other types of organizations.

According to the baseline projection alone, giving to public-society benefit would have increased in 2018 and 2019. The exceptional circumstances created by tax policy changes have complicated this picture. Click here for a more detailed analysis.

Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence public-society benefit giving in 2018 and 2019 include:

  • Average-average growth in household and nonprofit net worth,
  • Above-average growth in total giving, and
  • Growth in consumer expenditures on foreign travel.76

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

This subsector includes donor-advised funds, United Ways, and federated charities. In particular, donor-advised funds have seen growth in recent years, and it is possible this trend will continue in 2018 and 2019. Additionally, the public-society benefit subsector has seen an increase in the use of innovative funding models such as impact investing and pay-for-success programs, offering new opportunities for donors.77

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