According to a recent report from Giving USA, charitable giving in the United States increased 0.9 percent (after inflation) in 2011 from 2010. The report estimated a total of $298.42 billion was donated.
“For many that rely on philanthropy … this is not just a tough year. This is going to be a tough era,” said Patrick Rooney of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which compiles Giving USA.
The source of contributions remains similar to 2010 with 73% from individuals and 14% from grants by independent, community and operating foundations. The religion subsector annually receives the largest share of charitable dollars, and it did again in 2011 with 32% of the total. However, religious organizations suffered the biggest drop, with donations falling 4.7 percent from 2010. Giving USA attributed this to a decline in the number of Americans who belong to churches, synagogues or mosques.
Some donors may contribute more in 2012 in anticipation of the charitable deduction being reduced next year. But other factors may keep money in donors’ pockets this year, including the uncertainty in the global economy, the presidential election, health care policies and tax rates.