Giving to Public-Society Benefit


5.1 %


5.0 %

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 5.1% in 2020 and by 5.0% in 2021.xvi

In 2020 and 2021, public-society benefit giving is predicted to surpass the historical 10-year, 25-year, and 40-year annualized average growth rates.22

Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence public-society benefit giving in 2020 and 2021 include:xvii

  • Average growth in consumer expenditures on recreation services in the preceding years, and
  • Above-average growth in total giving, and
  • Above-average growth in the difference in personal savings rate in the preceding years.

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

However, average growth in consumer expenditures on education services in the preceding year, average growth in personal savings in the preceding year, and above-average growth in the S&P in the preceding year may temper this growth.

Giving to public-society benefit organizations tends to be affected by trends that influence consumer behavior regarding luxury expenditures.

  • xvi All growth rates are based on predictions for giving in inflation-adjusted 2018 dollars using 2019 as the base year. The Philanthropy Outlook projects the growth rates of variables into 2020 and 2021; predicted growth rates are compared with the variables’ historical 10-, 25-, and 40-year annualized means. See Table 1 for these data.
  • xvii For the definition of these variables and their sources, see the “Variable Definitions and Sources” list in the Guide to the Philanthropy Outlook model at The Guide to the Philanthropy Outlook model also includes a full list of the variables tested and included in each model, as well as information about the stability of the variables.