Total Giving

2019

3.4 %

2020

4.1 %

Total giving is predicted to increase by 3.4% in 2019 and by 4.1% in 2020.v

In 2019 and 2020, total giving is expected to be higher than the historical 10-year, 25-year, and 40-year annualized average rates of growth.27

Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence total giving in 2019 and 2020 include:vi

  • Above-average growth in the S&P 500 in the preceding and projected years,
  • Growth in personal income, and
  • Growth in the preceding years’ 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 2019 and 2020. In fact, growth in personal income will have the largest influence on total giving during these years.

Other factors that will positively influence total giving in 2019 and 2020 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.

Figure 3

Distribution of Total Giving, by Source, for the years 2019 and 2020

Figure 3 shows the proportion of total giving by each source for the years 2019 and 2020. In 2019, 66.0% of total giving is expected to derive from individuals/households, followed by 18.9% from foundations, 10.1% from estates, and 5.0% from corporations. In 2020, the proportion of giving from individuals/households will decline slightly, while the proportion of giving from estates and foundations will rise slightly. The proportion of giving from corporations will remain steady between 2019 and 2020.

Figures 4 and 5 show total giving in 10-year segments over the 40-year periods ending in 2019 and 2020. At 3.4%, the projected rate of growth for giving in 2019 is higher than the average growth rate of 2.9% in the 10-year period ending in 2019, as shown in Figure 4. At 4.1%, the rate of growth for giving in 2020 is also higher than the average growth rate of 3.1% in the 10-year period ending in 2020, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 4

Average Rates of Change for Giving, Selected Time Periods, 1980–2019 (Data are in inflation-adjusted dollars)

Figure 4 shows that the estimated average rate of growth for giving in the 2000–2009 period (which includes the Great Recession) is the lowest of the last four decades, at 0.5%.28 The 1990–1999 period saw the highest rate of growth in total giving, at 4.3%, reflecting the economic boom of the 1990s.

Figure 5

Average Rates of Change for Giving, Selected Time Periods, 1981–2020 (Data are in inflation-adjusted dollars)

Figure 5 shows the average annual rate of growth for giving in 10-year periods from 1981 to 2020.29 The effects seen in Figure 4 are amplified here: the economic boom of the 1990s resulted in the largest increase in giving occurring during the 1991–2000 period (5.7%). Additionally, the sharp decline in giving during the Great Recession is responsible for a 0.1% decline in giving during the 2001–2010 period. Compared with Figure 4, the 2011–2020 period appears to demonstrate that total giving will return to long-term historical norms following the Great Recession.

  • v 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.
  • vi The Scenario Analysis section of this report describes how changes in some of these factors may affect total giving.