Americans Were Generous in 2016

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The 2016 Giving USA report, which is researched and written by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at the University of Indiana was recently issued; view the report here. Typically, the report is the most comprehensive data on charitable giving released each year. Despite being an election year, Americans continued to be generous giving a record $390 billion in 2016, an increase of 2.7% over 2015.

Similar to prior year’s 95% of giving ultimately originates from individual donations, which breaks down to 72% from individuals, 15% from foundations, and 8% from bequests; and, 5% from corporations. The sectors that benefitted the most from charitable dollars were Religion (32%), Education (15%), Human Services (12%), Foundations (10%), Health (8%), Public – Society Benefit (8%), International Affairs (6%), and Arts, Culture and Humanities (5%). Although not a big sector in total, giving to the Environment and/or Animals increased by 7.2% in 2016, making it the largest gain of any subsector.

As has been consistent throughout the last 20 years, giving as a percentage of gross domestic product is about 2% – 2.1% for 2016. Giving to donor-advised funds continues to increase as we have discussed before, exceeding $20 billion in giving as of late. Average household giving reached $2,240 in 2016, which is very generous. One interesting item to note, is that around 50% of donors do not continue to give after their first year of support. Typical reasons why donors choose not to donate a second or third time include forgetting that they donated; not being reminded to give again; lack of, or irrelevant communication by the organization(s) they donate to, or inappropriate asks. These are generally correctable by the charity through better customer service. Another trend highlighted is that charities are receiving larger donations from a limited pool of high-income households, while seeing a smaller number and dollar amount of gifts from lower income households.

Interested in updating your organization’s fundraising program? Please contact Aronson Partner Craig Stevens at 301.231.6200, to discuss your individual fundraising efforts.


About Craig Stevens

Craig Stevens has written 81 post in this blog.

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