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Giving USA Numbers A Cause For Optimism

For more than 50 years Giving USA has given what amounts to an annual state of the nonprofit sector. With the uncertain economy we have been living through, the 2012 report was even more anticipated. It was with great relief, then, that giving numbers were found to be pretty healthy last year.

The NonProfit Times analyzed the numbers in this year’s report in an exclusive piece online. According to the piece, giving in the U.S. reached an estimated $298.42 billion in 2011, an increase of around 4 percent from 2010 (when giving was estimated at around $290 billion). Individual giving represented the biggest contributions, at 73 percent or $217.79 billion?
The smallest contributors? Corporations. Corporate giving represented just 5 percent of total giving in the country, or $14.55 billion. This shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise, as a report by the Council on Foundations last month showed that corporate philanthropy had fallen among large companies like Starbucks, Dove, and Cisco.
Of the different sub-sectors of giving, human services and religious giving came out on top. In fact, religiong retained its spot from last year as the largest recipient of giving, at 32 percent or $95.88 billion. Yet, interestingly enough, that number was actually a decline of 1.7 percent when measured in current dollars.
“Viewed another way, giving to religion, along with membership in
certain mainline Protestant denominations, is declining, while the
American population grows, on average, 1.0 percent every year,” said
Thomas W. Mesaros, CFRE, Chair, The Giving Institute and president and
CEO, The Alford Group.
Here is the complete breakdown of giving to each sector:
  • Religion, $95.88 billion or 32 percent;
  • Education, $38.87 billion or 13 percent;
  • Human Services, $35.39 billion or 12 percent;
  • Foundations, $25.83 billion or 9 percent;
  • Health, $24.75 billion or 8 percent;
  • International Affairs, $22.68 billion or 8 percent;
  • Public-Benefit Society, $21.37 billion or 7 percent;
  • Arts, Culture and Humanities, $13.12 billion or 4 percent;
  • Environment/animals, $7.81 billion or 3 percent;
  • Individuals, $3.75 billion or 1 percent;
  • Unallocated giving was $8.97 billion or 3 percent.
Want to read more about the Giving USA numbers for 2012? Head on over to our website for more analysis, and be sure to keep an eye out for our July 1 issue for even more details on this important report.

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