Charitable Giving from Individuals Rose in 2013, but Companies Cut Back

(Photo: Schalk van Zuydam, AP)
(Photo: Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

Charitable giving rose in 2013, but has yet to reach its pre-recession peak, in part because of a decline in corporate giving.

Americans gave $335.2 billion to charity in 2013, according a report by Giving USA and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. That’s a 4.4% increase, adjusted for inflation, from the $320.97 billion given in 2012.

Individuals were by far the biggest contributors to charity in 2013, giving 72%, or $240.6 billion, last year. “You could make the argument that individuals gave 87%,” says L. Greg Carlson, chairman of the Giving USA Foundation. After all, 8% came from bequests and 15% came from foundations, about half of which are funded by individuals.

Despite record profits in 2013, corporate giving fell 1.9% in 2013, accounting for $17.9 billion of all charitable giving, or about 5% of the total. One reason: Companies make their budgets in the previous year, and in much of the second half of 2012, companies were worried about a combination of tax increases and budget cuts – the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

Religious organizations remain the top recipient of the nation’s giving, accounting for 31%, or $105.4 billion, of all giving. That percentage shrank 0.2% in 2013, part of a longstanding trend: As fewer people fill the pews, less money goes to religious organizations, Carlson says.

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