Few people realize how large charities have become, how many vital services they provide, and how much funding flows through them each year. Without charities and non-profits, America would simply not be able to operate. Their operations are so big that during 2013, total giving was more than $335 billion.
How big is the sector?
- Total giving to charitable organizations was $335.17 billion in 2013 (about 2% of GDP). This is an increase of 4.4% from 2012. Although this is the fourth straight year that giving has increased, it is still not at the pre-recession level of $349.5 billion seen in 2007.
- As in previous years, the majority of that giving came from individuals. Specifically, individuals gave roughly $240.6 billion (72%) representing a 4.2% increase over 2012. And it was the additional $9.69 billion in gifts made by individuals that was the main reason overall giving is up in 2013.
- Giving by bequest was $27.73 billion (up 8.7%), foundations gave $48.96 billion (up 5.7%), and corporations donated $17.88 billion (down 1.9%).
- Corporate giving accounts for just 5% of the total giving in 2013. And it was down primarily because of the slow growth in corporate pre-tax profits.
Five types of charities have reached or surpassed all-time high giving levels since the recession ended in mid-2009.
- Giving to Education charities was up 8.9% to $52.07 billion.
- Donations to Human Services charities were up 2.2% to $41.51 billion.
- Foundations saw an increase of 15.5% to $35.74 billion.
- Health charities experienced an increase of 6% to $31.86 billion.
- Charities that focus on the Environment / Animals saw an increase of 7.5% to $9.72 billion.
- Giving to International charities slowed due to fewer overseas disasters.
- Historically, Religious groups have received the largest share of charitable donations. While this was still true in 2013, the percentage dropped by 2% from 2012 making this the fifth year in a row it was down or flat. Even with the 0.2% decrease in donations this year, 31% of all donations ($105.53 billion) went to Religious organizations. Much of these contributions can be attributed to people giving to their local place of worship.
- The next largest sector was Education with 16% of all donations.
All data is the property of Giving USA 2014, the Annual Report on Philanthropy.