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.
The current forecast indicates that every month in 2012 will be a growth month, better than the same month last year. Giving in 2012 can be expected to grow 4.1 percent to $360.31 billion, $13.42 billion more than was given in 2011. The forecast is expected to change as events unfold during the year. Natural and man-made disasters, economic events, and many other things affect the velocity and trajectory of charitable giving results. The Atlas of Giving actively monitors the factors affecting giving and provides monthly updates of the forecast to account for these.
“Leading economic indicators were up again in January, a good sign that recovery and giving growth will continue,” Mitchell, said. “There is no doubt that political fundraising will divert some support from charities and churches, but the impact will not significantly affect charitable giving this year.”
Highlights from the Atlas of Giving’s January Report:
January Giving Results By Source
-Individual giving increased 1.4 percent in January versus December to $22.49 billion.
-Corporate giving was $1.51 billion in January, 1.3 percent higher than December.
-Foundation giving totaled $3.92 billion, 2.1 percent higher than December.
-Bequest giving was $2.04 billion in January, 1.5 percent higher than December.
January Giving Results By Sector
-Environmental and nature organizations increased 12.3 percent over January of 2011 coming in at $0.64 billion.
-Growth in giving to churches & religious organizations trailed other sectors, growing 3.9 percent over January 2011, totaling $10.79 billion. Giving to churches & religious organizations accounts for 36 percent of all U.S. giving — the largest sector.
January 2012 Giving By State
-Giving growth in January was particularly strong in four states: Pennsylvania up 2.7 percent, Florida up 2.7 percent, Illinois up 2.6 percent, and Texas up 2.0 percent over January, 2010.
2012 Giving Forecast
-The forecast is bright for charities with an international mission, projected to be up 8.9 percent.
-Giving to churches and religion is forecast to grow at less than half the rate of overall giving growth — up just 1.7 percent.
-Political fundraising will divert some dollars from charitable giving but the impact will not be significant overall accounting for less than 1 percent of the charitable giving annual total.