U.S. Giving Up 4.6 Percent in 2015, Forecast to Grow 2.6 Percent

Total charitable giving in the U.S. increased 4.6 percent on a year-over-year basis in 2015 and is forecast to grow 2.6 percent in 2016, a report from the Atlas of Giving finds.

The latest monthly report (15 pages, PDF) from the Dallas-based firm found that total giving in 2015 came in at an estimated $477.55 billion, up 5.1 percent since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009. The report also found that individual giving rose 4.3 percent, accounting for 73 percent of overall giving; giving by foundations jumped 6.9 percent, accounting for 15 percent of overall giving; corporate giving was up 3.3 percent, accounting for 5 percent of the total; and bequests were up 3.8 percent, accounting for 7 percent of the total. According to the report, giving in May, June, and July exceeded total year-end giving in October, November, and December in 2015, due in part to strong giving to universities in the spring and a shaky stock market in the second half of the year.

The report also forecasts that giving will only grow 2.6 percent in 2016, due in part to the continuing stock market correction,  uncertain interest rates, and competition from political giving. On the other hand, low oil and gas prices and ongoing improvement in the unemployment rate could be good news for giving, the report adds.

"December 2015 Report." Atlas of Giving Report 02/01/2016.