When adjusted for inflation, total giving in 2005 grew 2.7% over giving in 2004. This rise in giving figures was in large part attributed to major natural disasters both here and abroad from December 2004 to October 2005. Donations to disaster relief alone were estimated to be at least $7.37 billion in 2005, approximately 3% of overall giving. However, Giving USA points out that 59% of responding organizations—the highest percentage since 2000—reported an increase in their charitable gifts even before including disaster relief contributions.
Of the $260.28 billion in total giving, 76.5% ($199.07 billion) was in the form of gifts from living individuals. This marks an increase of 6.4 % over the 2004 figure of $187.92 billion.
Gifts from foundations total $30 billion (11.5% of total giving), while donations from corporations grew to $13.77 billion, which is a 22.5% increase over 2004 numbers.
Charitable bequests, on the other hand, declined in 2005 to $17.44 billion, a 5.5% drop over 2004 totals. As The Sharpe Group observed in the May 2006 issue of Give & Take (see “Great Expectations?” on page 1), lower death rates were blamed for the drop in bequest dollars. For this article and recent articles on the same subject published in Trusts & Estates magazine, see www.sharpenet.com/resources/.
Editor’s note: Robert F. Sharpe, Jr. serves on Giving USA’s Advisory Council on Methodology, and The Sharpe Group is a member of the Giving Institute—Leading Consultants to Non-Profits, formerly known as the AAFRC.