Total giving is predicted to increase by 4.8% in 2020 and by 5.1% in 2021.i
In 2020 and 2021, total giving is expected to be higher than the historical 10-year, 25-year, and 40-year annualized average rates of growth.6
Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence total giving in 2020 and 2021 include:ii
- Above-average growth in the S&P 500 in the preceding and projected years,
- Growth in the preceding years’ personal income, and
- Growth in GDP.
Year-over-year growth in the current year’s S&P 500 influences individual/household giving for the subsequent year, especially giving by those with median and higher levels of income. In general, growth in personal income for all types of households will positively impact total giving in 2020 and 2021.
Other factors that will positively influence total giving in 2020 and 2021 include close-to-average growth in household and nonprofit net worth in the preceding years and above-average growth in the number of itemizers in the projected years.
Distribution of Total Giving, by Source, for the Years 2020 and 2021
Figure 3 shows the proportion of total giving by each source for the years 2020 and 2021. In 2020, 67.1% of total giving is expected to derive from personal giving, followed by 18.3% from foundations, 9.7% from estates, and 4.9% from corporations. In 2021, the proportion of personal giving and giving by corporations will decline slightly, while the proportion of giving from estates and foundations will rise slightly.
Figures 4 and 5 show total giving in 10-year segments over the 40-year periods ending in 2020 and 2021. At 4.8%, the projected rate of growth for giving in 2020 is higher than the average growth rate of 3.0% in the 10-year period ending in 2020, as shown in Figure 4. At 5.1%, the rate of growth for giving in 2021 is also higher than the average growth rate of 3.5% in the 10-year period ending in 2021, as shown in Figure 5.
Average Rates of Change for Giving, Selected Time Periods, 1981–2020 (Data are in inflation-adjusted dollars)
Figure 4 shows that the estimated average rate of growth for giving in the 2001–2010 period (which includes the Great Recession) is the lowest of the last four decades, at 0.0%.7 The 1991–2000 period saw the highest rate of growth in total giving, at 6.0%, reflecting the economic boom of the 1990s.
Average Rates of Change for Giving, Selected Time Periods, 1982–2021 (Data are in inflation-adjusted dollars)
Figure 5 shows the average annual rate of growth for giving in 10-year periods from 1982 to 2021.8 The effects seen in Figure 4 are only slightly changed here: the economic boom of the 1990s resulted in the largest increase in giving occurring during the 1992–2001 period (5.8%). Additionally, the Great Recession is responsible for the tepid 0.3% growth in giving during the 2002–2011 period. Compared with Figure 4, the 2012–2021 period appears to demonstrate that total giving will return to long-term historical norms following the Great Recession.
- i 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.
- ii 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 www.PhilanthropyOutlook.com. The Guide to the Philanthropy Outlook also includes information about the stability of the variables.