Charitable Giving Facts and Figures

The charitable deduction is unique in that the donor does not receive anything tangible in return and is financially no better off for giving. This contrasts with other common deductions, such as the mortgage interest deduction, which, in effect, allows home buyers to purchase a more expensive home – for themselves. The charitable deduction also encourages Americans to give away a larger portion of their income than they otherwise might.

Charitable Giving in 2018

  • Americans gave approximately $427 billion to support charitable causes in 2018 (Giving USA 2019)
  • Charitable giving accounted for 2.1 percent of GDP in 2018 (Giving USA 2019)
  • More than $292 billion of total giving in 2018 was donated by individuals (Giving USA 2019)
  • A quick calculation shows that those in need receive at least $2.50 of benefit for every $1 of tax benefit to the donor

Gifts to Charity are Declining

The Number of Americans Giving to Charity is Declining

  • The percentage of households that gave to charity decreased by 13 points between 2000 and 2016, from 66 percent to 53 percent, which results in 20 million fewer donor households. (Changes to the Giving Landscape, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy)
  • The number of donors giving to charity dropped 3.6 percent in 2019 compared to 2018 YTD numbers (Fundraising Effectiveness Project Q3 report)

Charitable Deductions are Declining

  • The amount of charitable deductions claimed fell by approximately 33 percent ($54 billion) in 2018 compared to the previous year. (Mid-July Filing Season Statistics by AGI – IRS report)