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Good News on Giving in 2010

good-news-on-giving-in-2010-image1.gifCharitable giving rose to $290.98 billion in 2010, reports this year's edition of Giving USA. That figure represents a 3.8 percent growth over 2009, halting two consecutive years of philanthropic decline. GuideStar's president and CEO, Bob Ottenhoff, noted in his blog, "After two bad years, it is good to know that we're starting to experience an increase, albeit a small one."



good-news-on-giving-in-2010-image2.gifWho Gave?

As has been true for decades, individuals gave the greatest portion of charitable contributions in 2010, followed by foundations, bequests, and corporations:

  • Individuals—73%
  • Foundations—14%
  • Bequests—8%
  • Corporations—5%

good-news-on-giving-in-2010-image3.gifWho Received?

As has also been the case for years, religious and then educational organizations received the largest percentage of donations:

  • Religion—35%
  • Education—14%
  • Foundations—11%
  • Human Services—9%
  • Health—8%
  • Public-Society Benefit—8%
  • Arts, Culture, and Humanities—5%
  • International Affairs—5%
  • Environment/Animals—2%

As the graph on the right indicates, however, changes in giving varied by organization type. Bob Ottenhoff summed up these differences well:

"In the end, the Giving USA statistics remind me a lot of the characteristics of GuideStar's economic surveys and the country's general recovery from the Great Recession. The recovery is uneven and unfair. Some are doing quite well (corporate profits are better than ever; the stock market has regained 90 percent of its value since 2007), while others are suffering greatly (high unemployment; high mortgage defaults). In the nonprofit world, the recovery is also uneven depending on what your organization does and where it is located. Averages can be deceiving."

Download the Giving USA 2011 executive summary

Suzanne E. Coffman, July 2011
© 2011, GuideStar USA, Inc.

Suzanne Coffman is GuideStar's editorial director and editor of the GuideStar Newsletter.

Topics: Charitable Giving