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Giving USA: Top 10 Points You Should Know

December 12, 2016

Giving USA is a publication of The Giving USA Foundation™, and is researched and written by The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Here are our top 10 takeaways from this year’s report: 

  • pie chart showing charitable giving statisticsAmericans donated an estimated $335.17 billion.
  • This is the fourth consecutive year of gains with a 4.4% increase over last year’s total. 
  • As we have seen for decades, individual and family giving continues to be the leading contributor to nonprofits. Individuals, bequests, and family foundations combined account for 87% of giving in our country. 
  • We have not quite yet returned to 2007 prerecession highs, but there has been a 22% increase since the end of the recession. Giving is tied so much into the economy—as we see the economy improve, we see America’s confidence in giving also improving.
  • Five of the nine subsectors have returned or surpassed their all-time highs (inflation adjusted). 
  • Giving by family foundations has increased 80% in the last 10 years, and they account for 48% of all foundation giving. 
  • 50% of corporate giving is in-kind and much of it is pharmaceutical. Corporate giving continues to be marketing driven—your mission must align with the company’s priorities. 
  • Donor advised funds have continued to grow and have played a major role in the growth of community foundation giving. Combined, national donor advised funds and community foundation donor advised funds account for 4.3% of all giving.
  • Cutbacks in government funding are still prevalent. 

Here is how 2014 breaks down:  

Change in giving by source over last year: 

  • Up 8.7% in Bequests
  • Up 5.7% in Giving to Foundations
  • Up 4.2% in Individual Giving
  • Down 1.9% in Corporate Giving 

Change in giving to recipient over last year (top 5): 

  • Up 8.9% Education
  • Up 8.5% Public Society Benefit
  • Up 7.8% Arts, Culture and Humanities
  • Up 7.5% Environment/Animals
  • Up 6% Health

To view the free Giving USA Report Highlights or to purchase the report, visit

This blog is courtesy of The Curtis Group, of whom Keith Curtis teaches for the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence.