Latest Giving USA Data

Published: June 26, 2024


Each year in June, Giving USA, along with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, releases data on giving across America for the previous year.  Yesterday’s release, Giving USA 2024: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2023, showed overall charitable giving totaled $557.16 billion in 2023. While giving grew 1.9% in current dollars (reaching a new high), factoring in the 4.1% inflation rate, giving was actually down by 2.1%.  This included an inflation-adjusted drop in giving from three of the four sources of donations in the report: individuals, foundations, and corporate giving. Bequests showed a slight increase when adjusted for inflation. There were some positives in the Giving USA data and some interesting stats as well.

Giving USA Data Overview

The economy has continued to outperform expectations.

This has helped propel giving even while inflation has brought strong headwinds (remember the days of 2% inflation before the pandemic!?).  While consumers seem to feel more economically and financially secure (disposable personal income was up 8.1%, or 3.8% adjusted for inflation), inflation continues to cause uncertainty, and individuals don’t give as much if they feel uncertain. Other factors may be involved with an overall feeling of uncertainty, from international crises to the looming election. There’s no action for fundraisers here, but it’s important to understand the role of the economy in the decisions your donors are making.

Bequests grew.

Bequests grew a bit, increasing by 4.8% to $42.68 billion in 2023; adjusted for inflation that was just an increase of 0.6% over 2022. Given current demographics and economic factors though, we see this data as a bright spot. Your planned giving program is as important as ever, so spend quality time with your data, screen for your top planned gift prospects, incorporate bequests into your donor meetings, and continue sending information about these opportunities. 

Giving by individuals continued to shrink.

The report showed giving by individuals continued to shrink in 2023. Individual giving actually grew by 1.6% but adjusted for inflation it was a drop of 2.4%. This means fundraisers have to work harder just to stay in place with donors and underscores the importance of increasing your cultivation, engagement, and stewardship efforts because individual donors are not giving as freely as they used to. You’ve got to keep investing time in maintaining relationships with current donors while also working to build your prospect pipeline. 

Foundation assets are up, but their giving is not.

Thanks to the growth in the stock market, foundations saw their investments continue to grow in 2023. And, while giving by foundations reached the second highest level on record when adjusted for inflation, there wasn’t as big a jump as we all might have expected to see. The takeaway here is to keep building relationships with foundations and expanding the list of funders in your orbit. Giving will eventually expand (the funds are there!) and the strong ties you have with program officers will likely translate to dollars down the road. 

Do you see the theme in the Giving USA takeaways?

It’s relationships! Whether it’s individuals, foundations, or corporations (which we didn’t include here because it stayed at 6%, where it’s hovered for a while, and I didn’t see a big story in that data), you must keep building and maintaining relationships if you want to see growth. So, dive into your data, think about who you need to meet with, attend events, and go tell your story to strengthen your relationships with your donors! 

If you have questions about the data, please go to the link above for details, or feel free to contact me


Tagged , , .