The voices of Urban Institute's researchers and staff
December 26, 2013

Six fast facts about charitable giving

December 26, 2013

‘Tis the season for e-mail appeals and Santa-costume-clad bell-ringers outside every mall and grocery store. Inform your year-end giving with these fast facts from the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy.

1. Individual giving is on the rise, though it’s still not at pre-recession levels. Individual giving peaked in 2005 and stayed relatively level until it took a dip in 2008. Donations dropped again in 2009, but every year since then has seen a gradual increase, reports Giving USA.

giving-by-individuals

2. Yes, Virginia, there is a “giving season.” Over half of surveyed nonprofits told GuideStar that they receive most of their donations between October and December. Meanwhile, a 2007 study from The Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University found that respondents reported giving about 24 percent of their annual total between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

contrib-octdec

3. The more—or less—you make, the more you give. IRS data reveal an interesting trend: those at either the high end or low end of the income distribution tend to give a higher percentage of their income than those in the middle.

agi

4. Individual donations make a big impact. In 2012, individual contributions accounted for 72 percent of all contributions. That year, individual gifts totaled $228.93 billion, an increase of 3.9 percent in current dollars (adjusted for inflation, a still-impressive 1.9 percent) from 2011.

indiv-big-impact

5. Utah is the most generous state. Tax returns show Utahns’ yearly charitable deductions average out to $2,516. Other states in the top five include the District of Columbia, Maryland, Wyoming, and New York. (Stay tuned: the National Center for Charitable Statistics will publish a full report in early 2014.)

6. Those who donate to religious organizations give more overall. Though fewer households make charitable donations of $25 or more to religious organizations than to non-religious ones, those who contribute to religious organizations tend to give more overall, both in dollars per donation and in percent of income donated.

religiousgiving

 

Photo by Jeff Chiu/AP

SHARE THIS PAGE

As an organization, the Urban Institute does not take positions on issues. Experts are independent and empowered to share their evidence-based views and recommendations shaped by research.