Slow fundraising growth in 2011 comes nowhere near to erasing record historic losses—the deepest ever recorded in the report’s five decades—caused by the recession.
Total charitable giving last year was still 11 percent below what it was in 2007, before the effects of the recession were felt. Donations to charities dropped by a total of 13.4 percent in 2008 and 2009, “Giving USA” said as it released new estimates for contributions in those years.
The drop in those years was largely caused by a 17.6-percent plunge in donations by living Americans, who provide more than 70 percent of all donations.
Interviews conducted in the past week with more than 40 charity officials and other fundraising experts suggest that 2012 will not be any stronger for charitable giving than 2011.
And while some people may accelerate gifts in 2012 because they think the charitable deduction will be reduced next year, uncertainty about the global economy, the presidential election, health-care policies, and tax rates will cause many others to hold off making big gifts this year, said Robert Sharpe, a Memphis fundraising consultant.
“The bleeding stopped in 2010,” he said, “but the recovery is anemic.”