Rise in US giving bodes well for UK
Charitable giving in the US rose last year — in real dollars — for the first time in three years, a new report finds.
In 2010, total charitable giving amounted to $290.9bn, up from the revised $280.4 billion in 2009, according to the Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. That 3.8% increase in current dollars — 2.1% in inflation-adjusted dollars — hints at a slow rebound from the recession, the researchers said in a release.
The UK experienced a small rise in charitable donations by the UK public in 2009/10, increasing by £400m to £10.6bn - still £700m below pre-recession levels, according to UK Giving 2010, which surveyed more than 3,000 UK adults.
Dr Beth Breeze, Kent University researcher and author of the Coutts Million Pound Donors Report, says the US finding should bode well for the UK. "It is good news that giving has finally recovered in the US, and it should bode well for a similar recovery on this side of the Atlantic. Many UK-based major givers live globalised lives, with personal and professional contacts in the US, so they will be directly affected by the rise in philanthropic confidence on that side of the pond.
“But probably the biggest impact will be on the confidence of both donors and fundraisers in the UK. Feelings of financial security influence how much people feel able to give, so proof that the recession is behind us and that others are digging deep again, should help UK donors to feel more confident about giving their money away. And fundraisers will also hopefully feel it is ok to make big asks again - because if you don't ask you don't get."
Further findings from Giving USA show the most growth in giving was through charitable bequests, which increased 18.8% to $23bn. Corporate giving, which represents 5% of all charitable gifts, rose 10.6% to $15bn.
Individual giving also rose, climbing 2.7% in 2010 to $212bn. Only foundation giving experienced a decline, falling slightly by less than 1% (0.2 percent) to $41 billion.
Total charitable giving has increased each year since 1954 (when tracking began) except for 1987, 2008 and 2009. From 2008 to 2010, total charitable giving decreased 4.2%, according to the report.
The Giving USA executive summary is available for free download from the Giving USA Foundation website.