Giving USA: Americans Donate the Highest Total in Report’s 60-year History

Join the Discussion

Giving USA 2015

According to their annual report released today, the Giving USA Foundation estimates that total giving reached $358.38 billion in 2014. This surpasses the peak in 2007 before the Great Recession. This is the highest total since the report began in 1974, in both actual dollars and after adjusting for inflation.

Total giving in 2014 saw a 5.4 percent increase from 2013 after adjusting for inflation. In addition, 2014 was the fifth year in a row that giving has risen. These numbers suggest that philanthropic giving has recovered from the decline experienced by many nonprofit organizations brought on by the Great Recession.

"This year’s report details what we’re seeing among our clients. There is a renewed sense of optimism in the field of development, and these numbers confirm that," says Dean Rein, president and partner of Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt.

Each source – individuals (72 percent of the total), corporations (5 percent), foundations (15 percent), and bequests (8 percent) – increased their giving in 2014. Individual giving, the largest source of giving, contributed an estimated $258.51 billion, which is a 4.0 percent increase from the total in 2013.

For those holding out hope that corporate giving could provide a major boost to their program, it doesn’t look likely. Corporate giving only accounted for 5 percent of all giving in 2014. While the total sum of corporate giving has risen over time, corporations donated only 0.7 percent of their 2014 profits to charity, the lowest percentage since the Giving USA report began in 1974.

Of the nine subsectors designated by Giving USA, eight saw an increase in giving in 2014. Giving to human services has actually increased annually since 2006. Education also achieved its record high at an estimated $54.62 billion.

Giving to religious organizations reached its highest inflation-adjusted value ever, and this category received the largest percentage of total giving at 32 percent. However, the percentage of giving to religious organizations has decreased over time, from a high of 56 percent of the total in the late 1980s.

“The Giving USA report is full of extensive data about philanthropic giving from the recently completed calendar year. We encourage our clients and all nonprofit organizations to use this resource to identify recent trends in giving and their impact on setting fundraising strategies for the future,” says Rein.


Giving USA 2015: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2014, a publication of Giving USA Foundation, 2015, researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  Available online at

Related Posts