January 2012 Saw Rise in Charitable Giving, Atlas of Giving Finds
Press release (Feb. 21, 2012) — Atlas of Giving announced results from its January 2012 report on charitable giving. The report outlines charitable giving in the United States from January 2012 and forecasts the upcoming year based on demographic and economic factors. According to the report released by Atlas of Giving, total giving to U.S. nonprofits rose 6.4 percent for January 2012, totaling $28.55 billion. This was a 1.5 percent increase over the best month in 2011, which was December. Giving to environmental and nature organizations experienced the largest increase with a growth of 12.3 percent over January 2011, while the religious sector grew at a modest 3.9 percent over January 2011.
“The results were better than forecasted, and build on the momentum of the 7.5 percent U.S. giving increase for 2011,” Rob Mitchell, Atlas of Giving CEO, said. “The continuing strong resurgence is being fueled by the quickening pace of the U.S. economic recovery, the strongest January stock market performance in 15 years, low inflation, unseasonably warm weather and continued improvement in the unemployment picture.”
“When stock values are high, individuals can make gifts of stock and avoid capital gains tax; grant making foundation portfolios increase making more grant money available, and estate gift values are enhanced. Low inflation increases giving because individual and corporate donors have more income available. The unseasonably warm weather across the U.S. in January translated into more gifts because less money was being spent by individuals and corporations on snow removal, heating bills, and transportation costs. High unemployment is directly related to charitable giving by individuals, especially small gift donors and participants in special fundraising events. People who are unemployed or fear becoming unemployed suspend their giving activity. After finding work, it takes as many as 24 months before giving activity resumes because people are catching up on delayed maintenance, replacement of household goods, and paying off accumulated debt. Since individual contributors account for 75 percent of all giving, any positive movement in employment numbers translates favorably for donations,” Mitchell, explained.