An analysis by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and consulting firm Marts & Lundy estimates that charitable giving in the United States will increase 4.8 percent in 2020 and 5.1 percent in 2021.
The Philanthropy Outlook 2020 & 2021 (28 pages, PDF) projects inflation-adjusted growth rates for giving by individuals of 4.4 percent in 2020 and 4.7 percent in 2021; 6.3 percent and 6.6 percent for giving by foundations; 6.6 percent and 6.5 percent for giving by estates; and 0.4 percent and 1.4 percent for giving by corporations. The report also projects that 67.1 percent of total giving in 2020 will come from individuals, 18.3 percent from foundations, 9.7 percent from estates, and 4.9 percent from corporations. The projected 4.8 percent and 5.1 percent increase in total giving for 2020 and 2021 are both higher than the ten-year average growth rates of 3.0 percent and 3.5 percent.
This year's edition of Philanthropy Outlook includes a "stress test" to determine how giving in 2020-21 could be affected by economic conditions last seen during 2008 and 2009, when total charitable giving fell 7.2 percent and 8.0 percent, respectively, led by giving by individuals (-11.7 percent in 2008 and -5.7 percent in 2009). Under a scenario in which conditions similar to that of the Great Recession develop and intensify over the course of the year, the report estimates that total giving for 2020 would be 10.6 percent lower than currently projected, with declines in giving from all sources. The report also notes that in addition to changes in the variables used in the projection models, long-term factors such as income inequality, critiques of philanthropy, the 2020 elections, and new legislation may affect giving trends over the next two years.
"Our research indicates that if U.S. economic growth remains steady, 2020 and 2021 are likely to be good years for charitable giving overall. The estimates for this year and next year anticipate solid growth in most sources of giving," said Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. "If the U.S. economy continues to be strong, we expect that charitable giving will also follow this trend, even recognizing that there may be more uncertainty in the global economy."