10 trends in charitable giving

February 9, 2016 at 10:52 am 3 comments

headshot of suzanne allenThe headline in the latest Ohio Gives report reads “$7.42 Billion in Total Charitable Giving.” It is a staggering number and it’s fairly intuitive to think that the wealthy or the big foundations or our large companies and corporations are making these donations to our charities. But the truth is, of the $7.42 billion, only 18 percent came from foundation grants and just 7 percent from other types of funders. The rest—75 percent—came from individuals.

Nationally, the story doesn’t vary much. Of the $358 billion that Americans gave to charity in 2014, only 14 percent came from foundation grants and just 5 percent from corporations, with 81 percent coming from individuals. Inherent in the data, particularly at the national level, are some interesting trends. For example, between 70 and 90 percent of all U.S. households donate to charity in a given year and the typical household’s annual gifts add up to between $2,000 and $3,000.

22 percent of taxpayers giveIn Ohio, we know that 22 percent of our population report making a charitable gift on their federal tax returns. We are listed as the 31st most charitable state in the nation, with a giving ratio of 2.82 percent. (A giving ratio is the percentage of the adjusted gross income that is reported to the IRS as charitable deductions.) And, our average gift size is $2,794.

If you missed last week’s Let’s Talk Philanthropy: Ohio Gives webinar, check out the recording and presentation.

Ohio Giving

While these facts are interesting, what helps leaders plan and what drives the proverbial “philanthropic bus” are the trends that underpin these facts. Here are the ones that interest me the most:

  1. 10 Trends in Charitable Giving2014 marked the fifth year in a row that giving increased, nationally.
  2. Mobile giving has increased 45 percent from 2014 to 2015.
  3. In 2013, online giving grew by 13.5 percent, while overall charitable giving grew by 4.9 percent.
  4. Women continue to demonstrate innovation and leadership in how they give: the projection is that by 2025, 60 percent of all billionaires will be women.
  5. Innovative structures will become more popular – remember the recent Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC? (See Is the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Good for Philanthropy?)
  6. Philanthropic activism will continue to rise as the funding for the public sector continues to decline, shifting the funding responsibilities to private funders.
  7. Democratized philanthropy – now, not only can everyone spell philanthropy, everyone can be a philanthropist. From the Ice Bucket Challenge to Go Fund Me campaigns, everyone can give to causes they care about … easily (See trend #2).
  8. For the first time in history, there are four generations in the workplace and in the philanthropic marketplace – Silent/Great, Baby Boomer, Gen X and Millennials. These four generational views and societal influences create very different approaches to philanthropy.
  9. Donor advised funds continue to grow in size and popularity. Charitable assets under management in all donor-advised fund accounts totaled $70.7 billion in 2014, an all-time high, and grant payouts continue to exceed 20 percent.
  10. The 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy found that philanthropic giving by households with at least $5 million in assets rose by an astounding 43 percent over the two-year period ending in 2013, with average donation amounts reaching $166,602.

What trends are you seeing and how are they impacting your work? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

suzanne signed in blue ink

Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D.


Entry filed under: Miscellaneous, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Women_Who_Dare  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Suzanne, thanks for sharing this because it democratizes philanthropy. Just like people, everyone matters and so does their contribution.

    • 2. Philanthropy Ohio  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you for the kind words! Very true: every contribution of dollars, time or treasure matters-regardless how small.

  • 3. When will I find love?  |  May 18, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Good post. I’m dealing with many of these issues as well..


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