Giving by Individuals / Households

2019

2.1 %

2020

3.4 %

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

Giving by American individuals/households is predicted to increase by 2.1% in 2019 and by 3.4% in 2020.vii

The projection for giving by individuals/households in 2019 is above the flat rate of change for giving of this type during the prior 10-year period, but below the historical 25-year and 40-year annualized average rates of growth. In 2020, giving by individuals/households is expected to surpass the historical 10-year, 25-year, and 40-year annualized average growth rates.30

Contributions from itemizing households and non-itemizing households are included in the forecasts for individual/household giving for the years 2019 and 2020.31

Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence individual/household giving in 2019 and 2020 include:viii

  • Growth in personal income,
  • Close-to-average growth in household and nonprofit net worth, and
  • Above-average growth in the number of itemizers.

A large body of work demonstrates, with few exceptions, the link between household income and wealth and philanthropic giving.32 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 connection between household giving and the financial health of charities. As charities grow, they are better able to invest in fundraising programs that drive household giving at the same time that households are in a better financial position to give.

  • vii 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
  • viii The Scenario Analysis section of this report describes how changes in some of these factors may affect individual/household giving.