Charitable Giving Stats (2008 – 2011)

in Strategy & Trends | by Ethan Lyon

In 2009, we saw charitable donations fall by 6 percent from the year before to $228.5 billion. Analysts attribute this fall to the recession, but as we continue to emerge from it, experts agree charitable donations will rebound in 2010 by up to 4.5 percent.

Sparxoo has explored innovators in the social cause / nonprofit sector, such as Kiva and Volunteer Mobs, but in the new year, we’d like to step back and look at charitable giving stats from the past 3 years and predict what we should expect in 2011:

Who makes up the bulk of charitable giving in the US? The largest slice of the charitable giving pie comes from individuals, at $227.41 billion in 2009 — contributing to 75 percent of total giving — followed by foundations ($38.44 billion / 13 percent), bequests ($23.8 billion / 8 percent), and corporations ($14.1B / 4 percent).

Approximately 65 percent of US households give to charity, with an average annual contribution of $2,213 and mean of $870. When we look at high net worth households, the numbers change quite drastically. An astounding 98 percent of high net worth households give to charity.

Historically, charitable giving increases roughly one-third as fast as the stock market. The correlation between the stock market and charitable giving could be the reason for 2009’s charitable giving decline.

However, there are charity sectors that are somewhat resistant to economic dips. Most charities saw drops in charitable giving in 2009, except in the sectors of Human Services, Health, International Affairs, and Environmental / Animal.

If we look at the correlation between the stock market and charitable contributions, we should expect 2011 to be a greater year of giving — as the US government officially announced the end of the recession in 2010.

Although where people allocate their donation dollars will likely parallel previous years, how they donate will likely change. In 2009, online giving rose 5 percent and the top social media tool used by charities for fundraising was Facebook.

With charitable apps popping up nearly every week — such as Social Vibe, Good Samaritan and iRipple — we should expect Facebook to be an even greater utility to connect charities and digital-savvy donors moving forward.

We anticipate, as we Facebook and other online utilities transform how we make our charitable contributions, to be a large part of the estimated total charitable contributions in the future. In fact, given the tremendous influence and functionality of Facebook, we expect the social networking site to be a conduit for much of the expected remaining total charitable donations to total between $21.2 to $55.4 trillion in between 1998-2052.

Image by Charlie Balch from Stock.Xchng