Charitable Giving to Increase 4.1 Percent in 2016, Study Predicts

Total charitable giving in the United States is expected to increase 4.1 percent in 2016 and 4.3 percent in 2017, a report from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and consulting firm Marts & Lundy finds.

Based on an analysis of key predictors of giving, The Philanthropy Outlook 2016 & 2017 (28 pages, PDF) projects that contributions from all sources in both years will increase, led by foundations, up 5.7 percent in 2016 and 6.4 percent in 2017, estates (up 4.8 percent and 4.9 percent), and corporations (up 4.6 percent and 4.7 percent). Giving by individuals and households — which represent more than two-thirds of U.S. charitable giving — is expected to show modest growth of 3.7 percent and 3.8 percent, reflecting the uncertainty of current economic trends. The 4.1 percent growth in total giving for 2016 represents a downward revision from the 4.9 percent predicted in last year's report.

According to the study, factors that will significantly influence giving over the next two years include above-average growth in the S&P 500 in preceding and projected years, average or below-average growth in personal income, and slightly above-average growth in household and nonprofit net worth. The report also predicts that giving in support of education will increase 6.3 percent in 2016 and 6.1 percent in 2017.

"In light of the recent volatility of the U.S. economic environment, this is a positive sign for philanthropy," said Amir Pasic, Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Lilly School. "The prospects are good for solid growth in overall giving to nonprofits both this year and next."

"The Philanthropy Outlook 2016 and 2017 has much good news for the nonprofit sector, and especially for education," said John M. Cash, board chair of Marts & Lundy. "The involvement of a new generation of philanthropists is now bearing fruit, and institutions, particularly educational institutions that can inspire and engage donors in their future, have unique opportunities."