Giving USA 2019 Report on 2018, Part 2: Where is the Giving Going

We are on Part 2 of a three-part look at the Giving USA 2019 Report. While Part 1 summarized where 2018 generosity came from, this post will look at where the charitable dollars went in America.

Giving usa

What the report tells us from 2018 trends:

  • 29% of all giving went to religion. This is giving to congregations, denominations, missionary societies, and religious media.
  • 14% of all giving went to education. K-12, college, seminaries, etc.
  • 12% to human services.
  • The remaining 45% in donations were directed to foundations, 10% to health, pubic benefit, international affairs, arts, environment, animals, and individuals. See the report on the right.

What can we infer from the 2018 data on giving to religion?

  • Aren’t our schools in the “sweet spot”? The top two categories --religion and education-- comprise 43% of all giving. Shouldn’t our schools, with Christ at the center and cute kids in chapel, be raising all sorts of dollars? That is the topic of another presentation.
  • Giving to religion has been declining. Not long ago, giving to religion was over 50% of total donations, but now it is 29%. That decline follows trends in individual giving, but the decline is likely aided by a number of other factors, such as the growing number of Americans who are not affiliated with a religious group, per Patrick Rooney.
  • However, in the past congregation members would give to their church and church body to support overseas missions, religiously-based hospitals, social services, etc. Now we can give directly to those agencies that touch our hearts directly.
  • There is a steady decline in people attending church. Millennials and Boomers are moving this trend. The days of “Pray, Pay, and Obey” in our buildings may be gone.
  • The areas that saw faster increases in giving were international, environmental, and animal welfare. An article From The Conversation considers these upticks may reflect generational changes. Environmental and international causes tend to receive more support from younger Americans than older adults.
  • “Umbrella Giving” is down, that is, giving to United Ways, etc. Donors want to see the impact and support their favorite causes directly.

Again, to quote Patrick Rooney, It’s Complicated! In Part 3, we will look at how to move forward.

(Warning: another big chart follows.)

We are on Part 2 of a three-part look at the Giving USA 2019 Report. While Part 1 [insert hotlink] summarized where 2018 generosity came from, this post will look at where the charitable dollars went in America. What the report tells us from 2018 trends:

Giving causes