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Charitable Giving Statistics

NPT curates statistics from recent studies and reports on charitable giving in the U.S. Please refer to the footnotes for original sources.

General Philanthropy

  • Americans gave $449.64 billion in 2019. This reflects a 5.1% increase from 2018.1
  • Corporate giving in 2019 increased to $21.09 billion—a 13.4% increase from 2018.1
  • Foundation giving in 2019 increased to $75.69 billion—a 2.5% increase from 2018.1
  • In 2019, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals at $309.66 billion, or 69% of total giving. In four of the last five years, charitable giving by individuals has grown.
  • Other sources of charitable giving were giving by foundations ($75.69 billion/17% of the total share of American giving), bequests ($43.21 billion/10%), and corporations ($21.09 billion/5%).1
  • In 2019, the majority of charitable dollars went to religion (29%), education (14%), human services (12%), grantmaking foundations (12%), and health (9%).1 These percentages and top funding areas stayed the same from 2018.
  • Giving in 2019 increased in nearly every sector, with double-digit growth in gifts for education (12.1%); public-society benefit (13.1%); arts, culture, and humanities (12.6%); and environment and animal organizations (11.3%).1
  • Charitable giving accounted for 2.1% of gross domestic product in 2018.1
  • Historically, charitable giving rises about one-third as fast as the stock market.2

Individual and Family Philanthropy

  • Approximately 90% of high net worth households give to charity.3
  • On average, high net worth donors gave $29,269 to charity in 2017. By comparison, general population households gave $2,514 on average.3
  • Adults are more likely to give to charity if their parents gave to charity.4

Charitable Organizations

  • According to the most recent data available, there are more than 1.54 million charitable organizations in the United States.5
  • Sources of revenue for tax-exempt organizations in 2012 were program service revenues, including government contracts and fees (73%), contributions, gifts, & government grants (21%) and lastly, dues, special event income, rental income and net sales from goods (6%).5

Volunteering

  • An estimated 25.1 percent of US adults volunteered in 2017, contributing an estimated 8.8 billion hours, valued at approximately $195.0 billion.5
  • Approximately 77 million Americans—30% of the adult population—volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.6
  • The top four national volunteer activities are fundraising or selling items to raise money (36.0%); food collection or distribution (34.2%); collecting, making or distributing clothing, crafts or other goods (26.5%); and mentoring youth (26.2%).6
  • The top four types of organizations by volunteering are: religious (32.0%); sport, hobby, cultural or arts (25.7%); educational or youth service (19.2%); and civic, political, professional or international (6.2%).6

Donor-Advised Funds

  • There were 728,563 donor-advised fund accounts in 2018.8
  • Donor-advised funds held $121.42 billion in assets in 2018.8
  • Annual contributions into donor-advised funds were $37.12 billion in 2018.8
  • Donors recommended grants from donor-advised funds totaling $23.42 billion to charities in 2018.8
  • Average donor-advised fund account size was $166,657 in 2018.8

Sources

1 Giving USA 2020
2 The Foundation Center
3 The 2018 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy conducted in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy
4 Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy Women’s Philanthropy Institute | Women Give 18: Transmitting Generosity to Daughters and Sons
5 The Urban Institute | National Center for Charitable Statistics 2019
6 The Corporation for National and Community Service
7 Independent Sector
8 National Philanthropic Trust – Donor Advised Fund Report 2019