American charities that conduct development and relief work overseas were the only type of nonprofit to outpace inflation by a significant percentage, at 4.4 percent, while donations to environmental causes increased by 1.4 percent after inflation. Giving to every other type of organization was either flat or declined.
Religious organizations suffered the biggest drop, with donations falling nearly 5 percent, in part because of a decline in the number of Americans who belong to churches, synagogues or mosques, “Giving USA” said.
Among the other key findings:
- Donations to foundations dropped by nearly 9 percent, to $25.8-billion. That drop might not be as ominous as it appears for future grant making, however. “Giving USA” said, because affluent people seemed to be putting a lot of their money into donor-advised funds. The three biggest such funds had an average rise in donations of 77 percent last year, the study noted.
- Contributions by living individuals were stagnant at $217.8-billion.
- Donations by corporations fell by more than 3 percent, to $14.6-billion last year, while foundations gave 1.3-percent less, at $41.7-billion.
- Bequests were the only source of growth in donations last year, rising nearly 9 percent, to $24.4-billion.