Charitable Giving to Grow 3.6 Percent in 2017, Study Predicts

Total charitable giving in the United States is expected to grow 3.6 percent in 2017 and 3.8 percent in 2018, 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 2017 & 2018 (pages, PDF) projects that giving from all sources will increase in both years, led by foundations (5.9 percent in 2017 and 6 percent in 2018),  estates (5.4 percent and 5.2 percent), individuals (3 percent and 3.2 percent), and corporations (2.4 percent and 2.7 percent). The report also projects that giving to health-related causes will increase 8.5 percent in 2017 and 7.9 percent in 2018, followed by gains in giving for education (6.3 percent and 6 percent) and public society benefit (5.2 percent and 5.4 percent).

According to the study, U.S. philanthropy grew some 18.7 percent between 2011 and 2015,  an annual rate of 4.7 percent, and is likely to continue to outpace GDP growth in 2017 and 2018. Trends for charities to consider include the role and growing visibility of donor-advised funds, the need to connect digitally with potential donors and provide flexible opportunities to interact and give, and peer-to-peer fundraising, while factors that could influence giving over the next two years include interest rate hikes, a gradual rise in the price of oil, and the surge in post-election donations.

"The projections of The Philanthropy Outlook point to some dramatic changes in American philanthropy," said Marts & Lundy board chair John M. Cash. "Contributions to donor-advised funds and to family foundations continue to grow significantly, leaving enormous amounts of charitable dollars waiting for future distribution. These donors are seeking meaningful relationships with organizations and the kinds of inspirational ideas that will fulfill their philanthropic aspirations. While the outlook is certainly good, the need for vigorous and meaningful engagement on the part of recipient organizations has never been greater."

"Charitable Giving Will Grow More Than 3.5 Percent in 2017 and 2018, Study Predicts." Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Marts & Lundy Press Release 01/12/2017.