Charitable Donations on the Rise

In 2013, U.S. consumers gave $240.6 billion in charitable donations. A report from Giving USA notes that, across the U.S., charitable giving rose in the past year and is nearly equivalent to the amount that was donated before the recession started. This generosity suggests that consumers, foundations and other giving organizations are feeling more comfortable about the economy in general and will continue to increase their contributions.

Last year, total giving reached $335.17 billion. Individual consumers donated 72% of that amount. Giving by other groups broke out as follows:

  • Foundations $48.96 billion (15%)
  • Bequests $27.73 billion (8%)
  • Corporations $17.88 billion (5%)

Analysts note that 31% of individual giving is directed toward faith-​based organizations. However, a separate Forbes report by Tom Watson explains that individuals are also increasing their giving to other favorite charities. In particular, education and human services charities are seeing big boosts in donations. At the same time, consumers are itemizing more contributions. For example, $272 million in charitable donations last year were earmarked for disaster relief.

Una Osili, Ph.D., director of research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, a research partner in the Giving USA analysis, is encouraged by the increases she sees in giving across a range of charities. Osili says “Arts, culture, and humanities organizations, too, are seeing strong results as donors appear to be attempting to make up for the loss in funding to these organizations during the recession years.”

Osili also noted charities are having success with campaigns that specifically target consumers by age group.

Ad-​ology Research has found that 21.3% of U.S. adult support charities that target hunger, homelessness and poverty with their money and time. About 28% of these consumers strongly agree that they will shop at a business which supports charities and causes they believe are important. Charities may be able to increase their donations by sponsoring a fund drive with a retail partner and advertising on TV. At least 50% of charity supporters have taken action in the last 30 days as a result of a TV ad.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to Ad-​ology PRO. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.