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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

About Individual and Family Philanthropy Options
  • Americans gave $410.02 billion in 2017. This reflects a 5.2% increase from 2016. [1]
  • Corporate giving in 2017 increased to $20.77 billion—an 8.0% increase from 2016. [1]
  • Foundation giving in 2017 increased to $66.90 billion—a 6.0% increase from 2016. [1]
  • In 2017, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals at $286.65 billion, or 70% of total giving; followed by foundations ($66.90 billion/16%), bequests ($35.70 billion/9%), and corporations ($20.77 billion/5%). [1]
  • In 2017, the majority of charitable dollars went to religion (31%), education (14%), human services (12%), grantmaking foundations (11%), and health (9%). [1]
  • Arts organizations experienced the largest giving increase in 2017, receiving 8.7% more than the previous year. [1]
  • Charitable giving accounted for 2.1% of gross domestic product in 2016. [1]
  • Historically, charitable giving rises about one-third as fast as the stock market. [2]
  • Approximately 91% of high net worth households give to charity. [3]
  • On average, high net worth donors gave $25,509 to charity in 2015. By comparison, general population households gave $2,520 on average. [3]
Charitable Organizations
  • In May 2015, there were approximately 1,521,052 charitable organizations in the United States. [4]
  • There are an estimated 316,532 congregations in the United States in May 2015. [4]
  • 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%). [4]
Volunteering
  • Approximately 63 million Americans — 25 percent of the adult population — volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. [5]
  • The 2016 national value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour. In other words, Americans contribute $193 billion of their time to our communities. [5]
  • The top four national volunteer activities are food collection or distribution (24.2%), fundraising or selling items to raise money (23.9%), general labor or transportation (18.8%), and tutoring or teaching (17.9%). [6]
  • The top four volunteer areas are for religious (34.1%), educational (26%), social service (14.9%), and health (7.3%) organizations. [6]
Donor-Advised Funds
  • There were 284,965 donor-advised fund accounts in 2016. [7]
  • Donor-advised funds held $85.15 billion in assets in 2016. [7]
  • Annual contributions into donor-advised funds were $23.27 billion in 2016. [7]
  • Donors recommended grants from donor-advised funds totaling $15.75 billion to charities in 2016. [7]
  • Average donor-advised fund account size was $298,809 in 2016. [7]
Sources
  1. Giving USA 2018
  2. The Foundation Center
  3. The 2016 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy conducted in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy
  4. The Urban Institute
  5. Independent Sector
  6. The Corporation for National and Community Service
  7. National Philanthropic Trust – Donor Advised Fund Report 2017