Giving USA 2017: Giving continues to grow

Blog June 16, 2017 By Kevin Wolfe

This year, more eyes than ever are on the Giving USA 2017 Report. There probably hasn’t been a time in the report’s 62-year history that those of us in the nonprofit space haven’t been more concerned about what the future holds. The good news is that giving continues its upward trend. Todd Levy, CEO of Global Cloud (makers of DonorDrive) and a member of the Giving Institute Board of Directors, explains why this year’s report is regarded as so important: “Though giving is up for the third year in a row, the how and why is what’s noteworthy.” Here are some of the telltale statistics:

  • Giving is up 4.1% over the 2016 report. With the 2016 report noting that giving reached over a billion dollars a day, we’re now at $390.05 billion last year passed on to charitable causes. 
  • Giving to religion, education, human services, health, public-society, arts and animals has reached it’s highest level ever. 
  • Thanks to Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge (giving away half your worth in your lifetime) gifts of over $100 million are up. The median age of these givers is a young 67. Possibly as a result, mega bequest giving of over $100 million is down 67%.
  • While giving to religious organizations is up for the sixth year, giving to houses of worship is at its lowest point in 50 years. Declining memberships at neighborhood churches and lesser giving at megachurches are suspected to play a role.
  • Most Millennials are still not in their highest earning years yet and have not peaked in their giving.
  • After the election, many Americans engaged in what’s referred to as “rage donating.” Groups, such as the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, Planned Parenthood and the Council on American-Islamic Relations saw a substantial increase in donations and a boost in volunteer applications.

While Todd sees this all as worthy of note, the increase in giving by individuals is an important trend: “This year, the report shows that giving by individuals has reached its highest point ever. These numbers bear out what we’re seeing in DonorDrive’s Personal Campaigns: More supporters are taking control over how they give to—and fundraise for—their favorite organizations.”

Giving USA 2107 is available now from the Giving Institute.