The Great Recession did a number on charitable contributions, with the rate of total giving dropping over 13 percent (combined) during 2008 and 2009. Although charitable giving has yet to return to pre-recession levels, new data indicate that it may not take long to reach that mark.
Estimates recently released by the Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy suggest that individual giving played a significant role in the 4.4 percent increase in overall giving in 2013. Corporate giving declined by 2 percent last year, while foundation giving increased by over 5.5 percent. Individual giving increased almost 4.5 percent and made up the largest portion of contributions. The report, Giving USA 2014: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2013, is available on the Giving USA website.
The Foundation Center has posted a preview of their Key Facts of U.S. Foundations 2014 report that gives an optimistic view of giving trends, even while noting that 11,000 more foundations were included in the upcoming report than in 2008, including some created by pharmaceutical companies specifically to distribute product. Also, though foundation giving appears to have increased in 2013, it must keep ahead of inflation rates to be meaningful. Still, based on the strong stock market, replenished endowments, and positive trends in individual giving, the forecast for foundation giving looks to be one of steady growth.