Wise Giving Wednesday: 2021 Giving Figures and 2022 Cautions

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calendar icon Jun 29, 2022


The 2022 edition of the Giving USA Report was published on June 27, 2022, by the Giving USA Foundation and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. Preliminary figures released last week by Giving USA showed that donations in 2021 totaled $484.85 billion which was 4% higher than the previous 2020 total of $466 billion but, after adjusting for inflation, contributions actually went down by 0.7%. Giving by individuals, including bequests, comprised 77% of the 2021 total followed by foundations at 19%, and corporations 4%. Wealthy donors represented a significant part of giving in 2021.  As reported in Barron’s, 10 donors gave away $15 billion last year.

Here are some highlights from the Giving USA Report, which show some changes between 2020 and 2021 after adjusting for inflation:

  • Total giving by individuals remained relatively flat at a 0.2 percent increase.
  • Giving to public society benefit organizations grew 17.9 percent in 2021.
  • Giving to arts, culture and humanities grew 21.8 percent. The big increase for arts and culture represented a return to previous levels after a significant cutback that took place in 2020.
  • Giving to environmental and animal organizations increased 6.1 percent.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy notes that an April 2002 an online survey completed by a Texas nonprofit consulting firm reports that 24 percent of U.S. donors who gave more than $20 to charity in the past year said they intend to give less in 2022 and that 63 percent will be more cautious in their 2021 giving. Some attribute these attitudes to worries about inflation and the economy. This contrasts with an alternative survey result in the UK which claims that 46 percent plan on increasing their charitable donations during 2022.

It is difficult to predict with certainty how donations will fare in 2022. No matter the result, however, we still urge donors to check out charities before they donate and visit Give.org to verify if the organization meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to revisit a video interview of Simon Davies, Executive Director, Teen Cancer America (a BBB Accredited Charity) which works to empower and improve the lives of young people with cancer. The organization reports that it creates youth-centered ecosystems that support young people with cancer, their families, and healthcare professionals. 

Heart of Giving Podcast

In this week’s Heart of Giving Podcast, we close out Pride Month with an interview with Brandon Wolf, Press Secretary, Equality Florida (a BBB Accredited Charity.) Mr. Wolf is a nationally recognized LGBTQ civil rights advocate and a survivor of the 2016 shooting at the Pulse Nightclub. Equality Florida is the educational arm of a civil rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Recent Reports

Finally, remember to let us know by going to give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

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