Giving USA: Donations fare best in times of economic and policy certainty

tree growing from money

Giving USA’s 2013 Giving results report is out and it does not provide many surprises.  It tells the story of slow growth and some hope.  It anticipates a six-seven year timeframe for a return to prerecession giving levels.  However, within all of this, the report provides some real insight into factors that moderate charitable giving.  Above all else, uncertain economic times cause donors to moderate or suspend charitable giving.

Uncertainty fueled by mixed economic indicators may have moderated giving by individuals, who historically account for the largest percentage of total giving. Positive trends, such as the 13.4 percent increase in the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index between 2011 and 2012, the slight rise in home values, and overall lower unemployment rates and fuel costs, were combined with budget concerns and tax reform discussions. In addition, personal disposable income rose 3.3 percent and personal consumption expenditures rose 3.6 percent last year, virtually mirroring the growth in individual giving. – (See more)

As talk surrounds charitable deduction legislation and government cutbacks increase the ireliance on nonprofit organizations’ work, it is important for all to remember that positive news does affect philanthropy.  For nonprofits to thrive and effectively deliver services in a time where they are needed most, positivity and some degree of political certainty must exist.  By a continual movement forward AND a glimpse of some political certainty philanthropy will continue to increase and continue to support the vital work of nonprofits.


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