2008 U.S. Charitable Giving Estimated to be $307.65 Billion
GLENVIEW, Ill., June 10, 2009 — Charitable giving in the United States exceeded $300 billion for the second year in a row in 2008, according to Giving USA 2009. Donations to charitable causes in the United States reached an estimated $307.65 billion in 2008, a 2 percent drop in current dollars over 2007.
The 2008 number is the first decline in giving in current dollars since 1987 and the second since Giving USA began publishing annual reports in 1956, says the annual report on philanthropy, released today for the 54th year by Giving USA Foundation(TM). (www.givingusa.org) Revised estimated giving for 2007 was a record $314.07 billion.
Two-thirds of public charities receiving donations saw decreases in 2008. The exceptions were Religion, Public-Society Benefit and International Affairs. The other types of charities (or subsectors) examined in Giving USA are: Arts/Culture/Humanities; Education; Environment/Animals; Health; Human Services; and Foundations, says the report, which is researched and written for Giving USA Foundation by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
"With the United States mired in a recession throughout 2008, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that charitable giving would be down," said (Ms.) Del Martin, CFRE, chair of Giving USA Foundation. "However, what we find remarkable is that individuals, corporations and foundations still provided more than $307 billion to causes they support, despite the economic conditions.
"It would have been easy to say 'not this year' when appeals came their way," she added, "and we definitely did see belt-tightening. This drop in giving meant that nonprofits have had to do more with less over the past year, but it could have been a lot worse."
Giving remains core component of GDP
In the context of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), giving is as strong historically as it's ever been. The estimates for 2008 indicate that giving was 2.2 percent of GDP. In 2007, giving was 2.3 percent of GDP.