Total charitable contributions from American individuals, corporations and foundations grew by 3.8% in 2010 in current dollars and 2.1% in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to estimates released Monday by Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
The Giving USA report put total estimated contributions at $291 billion in 2010, up from a revised estimate of $280 billion for 2009.
“Our revised estimates show that 2008 and 2009 saw the largest drops in giving in more than 40 years as a result of the Great Recession, exceeding previous recessions’ impact on giving,” Edith H. Falk, chair of Giving USA Foundation, said in a statement. “Despite the fragile economic recovery, though, Americans continued—and even increased—their support of organizations and causes that matter to them in 2010. The $10.59 billion increase in the estimated total suggests that giving is beginning to recover as the economy slowly climbs out of the recession.”
The announcement noted that Giving USA had revised its 2008 and 2009 estimates as the IRS revised and released its 2008 and 2009 giving estimates, which are used in Giving USA’s estimating process. It said IRS estimates showed larger than usual decreases in itemized giving.
Giving USAalso refined its estimating model to more fully reflect the effect of the recession. As a result of both changes, the study revised downward its estimates for total giving in 2008 and 2009, which were originally estimated at $307.7 billion and $303.8 billion, respectively.
“Total giving grew by 2.1% last year after adjusting for inflation. That’s good news following a combined drop of over 13% in 2008 and 2009,” Patrick M. Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy, said in the statement. “But the sobering reality is that many nonprofits are still hurting, and if giving continues to grow at that rate, it will take five to six more years just to return to the level of giving we saw before the Great Recession.”
Giving by Type of donor
According to Giving USA, individual giving rose an estimated 2.7% in 2010, to $211.8 billion (a 1.1% increase in inflation-adjusted dollars).