Giving the USA released its annual report on American philanthropy for 2014. Here are some of the highlights:
1. Total giving grew to $358.38 billion. It was up by about 7%.
2. Giving was up from all sources. Individual giving accounted for 72% of the total.
3. Bequests grew by 13.6%. It showed the largest gain of any source of giving. While some large bequests no doubt accounted for some of this, the report noted that more charities are seeking bequests. In addition, with the population growing older, boomers may be thinking about the longer term. More organizations need to start planned giving programs to take advantage of the transfer of wealth that is taking place.
4. All sectors, except international relations, showed an increase. All showed an increase to pre-recession levels. Mega gifts likely accounted for a substantial portion of the increase in the education sector.
5. Online giving was about 7% of the total. It experienced double-digit growth in 2013. Organizations need to have an online presence to take advantage of this increase.
Overall, this is good news. Giving is in part an indicator of an improving economy, although giving increased at different rates. The report concluded that giving will continue to increase as the economy increases.