Charitable Giving Statistics
Did you know that Americans are one of the most generous nations and that the most significant share of donations comes from individual donors? According to charitable giving statistics, with the rise of online platforms and mobile devices, charitable giving trends are shifting too. Scroll down to discover donor demographics, the most popular social media for fundraising, and more.
Charitable Giving Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Americans and Myanmar were the most generous nations in 2018. (World Population Review)
- Baby boomers are the most generous generation in the US. (Generations)
- Indonesia has the highest money donation rate globally, at 84%. (CAF Online)
- Almost one-third of all charitable donations go to religion-related organizations. (Giving USA)
- Individuals donated $326.87 billion in 2021. (Giving USA)
- About 30% of all American adults volunteer. (AmeriCorps)
- Environmental and rights nonprofits saw the highest growth in online donations. (Nonprofits Source)
- Facebook is the top social platform for inspiring charity giving. (MR Benchmarks)
General Charity Statistics
1. Americans shared first place with Myanmar as the most generous nation in 2018.
According to the World Giving Index, the US had been the most charitable country between 2009 and 2018, but was lowered to 19th position as the pandemic hit in 2020. Other Western or high-income countries from the top ten, including Canada, the UK, and Australia, also received lower scores and lost places in 2020.
(World Population Review)
2. British people donated around £10.7 billion in 2021.
UK donation statistics show that 57% of people on the other side of the pond have donated money via donation or sponsorship. The average monthly charity giving among the British is £79. It’s interesting to note that online charitable giving by UK donors has increased substantially since 2020 at the start of the ongoing pandemic. In the UK, the most popular cause people donate to is animal welfare (28%), a trend that has existed since 2019.
3. Baby boomers are the most generous generation in the US.
The global charitable giving statistics indicate that this generation continues to be the most charitable one, accounting for 43% of all donations. On the other hand, traditionalists (born between 1928–1945) give the most per person, at 88%, followed by 72% of baby boomers (born between 1946 to 1964). In addition, 60% of millennials (born between 1981 to 1996) report an act of charity giving, together with 59% of Generation X (born between 1965 to 1980) at 59%.
4. The top motivation for people to donate is to help a cause they care about.
While most donors reported contributing towards a cause they care about (53%), almost half of those surveyed said they are emotionally invested in the cause they are supporting (47%). More than one-third think their donation makes meaningful presents (39%), charity donation statistics show.
5. More than half of the world helped out a stranger in 2021.
CAF’s Global Giving Index examines charitable giving behavior within three categories: helping out a stranger, donating money, and volunteering. While participation in all types of giving dropped in 2018, figures have since increased — especially for the first two categories. The 56% is the highest share of people who have helped strangers since 2009, when the study began. A further 45% said they donated cash, while 21% said they had volunteered.
6. Indonesia has the highest rate of donating money globally, at 84%.
Charity donation statistics from the Global Giving Index rank Indonesia as the number one for donating money, followed by Myanmar at 73%, the Netherlands at 68%, and Iceland at 67%. The top 10 includes other rich countries, such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the US, while the countries like Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand are thought to be driven by religious reasons.
The top 10 countries that are least likely to donate money include only low- and middle-income countries, seven of which are in Africa.
7. The global community raised $23.5 billion to help poorer countries tackle COVID-19 and climate change.
By late December 2021, the World Bank announced a $93 billion package for low-income countries to respond to complications that rose along with the pandemic and increase efforts for a more sustainable and green future. Donation statistics note that high- and low-income countries raised $23.5 billion for the package, while the World Bank contributed with its own funds.
8. Around 62% of organizations experienced an increase in the interest in charitable bequests in wills.
Approximately 62% of organizations surveyed reported that more of their donors approached them about contributing via their wills. This is followed by donor-advised funds at 54%, retirement plan beneficiary designations at 52%, and IRA-qualified charitable distributions at 45%, as planned giving statistics show.
(Charitable Gift Planners)
9. In the fiscal year 2021, the US distributed $36 billion in foreign aid.
The United States government budgeted a total of $38 billion for foreign aid spending and distributed $36 billion during the fiscal year 2021. The largest portion of the aid went to Sub-Saharan regions, followed by the Middle East and North Africa, as well as south and central Asia.
10. Charities with less than 10% overhead tend to use at least 90% of donations for charity.
The percentage of donations that actually go to charity varies between 71% and 90%, according to fundraiser statistics. The charity percentage of donation depends largely on the overhead costs of the institutions — low overhead organizations like American Red Cross can dedicate up to 91 cents per dollar to benefit programs. Charities with high overhead costs, like that of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, may spend up to 40% of donations on institutional expenses.
(Love to Know)
US Charity Giving
11. 20% of annual giving in the US arrives in December.
According to charitable giving by month insights, about 20% of all annual donations across all categories in America come in December. The US charitable giving statistics suggest that all donations tend to increase by October, November, and December, with donations from these months representing 37% of the total amount. The report further discloses that Americans are most generous about healthcare during the holiday season, as 22.8% of the donations to the health sector happen in December.
12. Nearly half of high-income families donated as a response to the pandemic breakout.
During the COVID-19 crisis, nearly half (47%) of the affluent households donated to charities or made contributions of the sort in direct response to the pandemic. A further 93% of high-income families maintained or increased their contribution to charitable organizations providing basic needs such as healthcare, food, shelter, or medicine, United States charity statistics show.
(Bank of America)
13. Almost one-third of all charitable donations go to religion-related organizations.
Church giving statistics show that a total of 28% of all donations go for religious causes, the highest among all sectors. Education and human services are two popular causes among Americans who donate money, with 15 and 14 percent in charity donations, respectively. The list is rounded up with foundations (12%), public society benefits (10%), health (9%), and international affairs (5%).
14. In 2021, Americans donated $135.78 billion to religion.
While this amount marked a 5.4% increase compared to the contributions collected in 2020, it was still the highest among all types of donations in 2021. Between 2020 and 2021, charity donation statistics reveal the following causes recorded the highest YoY growth: arts, culture, and humanities (27.5% increase to $23.5 billion), public-society benefit organizations (23.5% increase to $55.85 billion), and environment and animal welfare (11% increase to $16.32 billion).
The only decline happened in education, with -2.8% to $70.79 billion, while international affairs saw no change.
15. Individual contributions represent the largest share of charity donations in America.
About 67% of all donations come from individuals, per the latest charitable giving statistics, recording a 4.9% YoY increase. The second biggest charity donation percentage belongs to foundations, with contributions accounting for 19% of the total. Giving by bequest is third with 9%, and corporations make up 4% of all donations.
16. In 2021, donations from individuals saw a 4.9% YoY increase to $326.87 billion.
This figure is significantly higher than other sources of contributions. Giving by foundations rose by 3.4% to $90.88 billion, while giving by corporations saw the highest increase of 23.8% to $21.08 billion in 2021. Only giving by bequest recorded a YoY decrease of 7.3%, totaling $46.01 billion.
17. Even with all-time high donations, public charities make the most money from charging fees.
Nonprofit fundraising statistics show that public charities organize events, sell used clothes, provide expertise, and more. All these services earn them 72% of their total revenue. Private contributions, in contrast, represent only about 13%. The other two income sources for public charities in America are endowment investments (7%) and government grants (8%).
18. About 30% of all American adults volunteer.
Americans don’t only donate money but also their time and effort. The annual number of volunteers in the United States is 77.9 million, and the average yearly time invested per volunteer is 74 hours. The total number of hours US volunteers invest a year is about 5.8 billion, per American philanthropy statistics.
19. 90% of affluent households donate to charity.
Charitable giving by income group figures show that households that earn over $1 million give, on average, $43,000. This amount represents about 4.3% of their income. The average donation amount has seen a 48% increase since 2017, partly due to the increased charitable behavior in response to the pandemic. Around 44% of those households say they are driven by the causes the organizations are addressing.
(Bank of America)
20. Americans living in Utah donate the largest percentage of their income.
People from this state donate, on average, 3.39% of their annual income, donation trends show. The top five list is rounded up with Arkansas (3.38%), Georgia (3.06%), the District of Columbia (2.20%), and Maryland (2.09%). Those living in Maryland benefit from the highest percentage of tax returns, with their charitable donations at 20.74%. It is followed by the District of Columbia at 19.02%, Virginia at 15.02%, and Utah at 13.44%.
21. Independent foundations are the largest charity givers.
Such foundations contribute $37.1 billion toward all foundation donations. The three other types together don’t come even close. Namely, operating and corporate foundations give $7.5 billion and $5.4 billion, respectively, as evidenced by corporate giving statistics. Finally, we have community foundations whose contribution stands at a modest $5.3 billion.
22. More than half of the US overseas assistance comes from private donations.
Private donations account for $43.9 billion of the total US overseas assistance. These funds come from charities (35%), corporations (26%), religious groups (14%), foundations (11%), volunteers (10%), and colleges (5%). Government overseas aid programs, by contrast, contribute $33.1 billion.
23. 27.1% of American schools earn over $75,000 a year from fundraising.
However, the average annual fundraising income for most schools (35%) is between $0 and $5,000. School fundraising statistics show that school groups manage to raise over $1.5 billion each year by selling products. About 71% of parents claimed to get involved in such fundraising quests by selling products to family, friends, and colleagues.
24. Christian church giving now is lower than it used to be during the Great Depression.
If Americans donated 3.3% of their income at the time, they would donate only 2.5% of today’s money. Only 5% of Christians tithe, and among them, the majority (80%) donate about 2% of their earnings.
Donor-Advised Fund Charitable Giving
25. The average size of DAF accounts was $159,019 in 2020.
This figure notes a 5.5% decrease compared to the one in 2019 ($168,355). According to fundraising and charity statistics, the other aspects note positive changes. For instance, the total number of total DAF accounts jumped by 16.3% to 1,005,099 from 864,187 in 2019. Charitable assets meanwhile increased by 9.9% to $159.83 billion, and the total contributions jumped by 20.6% to $47.85 billion.
26. The total value of contributions towards DAFs has been steadily increasing.
Back in 2016, the total DAFs donations were only $25.20 billion. Over the years, this amount has almost doubled. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, the respective total contributions were $30.85 billion, $36.22 billion, and $39.69 billion. The latest charitable contributions statistics note that this amount reached $47.85 billion in 2020, a YoY growth of 20.6%.
27. The number of DAF accounts at National Charities is more than six times higher than the one of Community Foundations and Single-Issue Charities combined.
In 2020, National Charities had a combined estimate of 864,099 DAF accounts (20% YoY growth) with total charitable assets of $100.15 billion (12.9% YoY growth). Community Foundations have 84,334 DAF accounts (0.4% YoY increase) with charitable assets totaling $45.84 billion (9.5% YoY increase). Finally, Single-Issue Charities hold 56,666 DAF accounts (5.3% YoY decrease) with charitable assets totaling $13.84 billion (6.9% YoY decrease).
Online Fundraisings Statistics
28. Environmental and rights nonprofits saw the highest growth in online donations.
Online charity has been on the rise, making up 12% of the total fundraising in 2021. Every sector noted significant improvements, with at least 15% average growth, but the biggest progress of 34% and 37% was seen among environmental and rights nonprofits.
(Blackbaud Institute, Nonprofits Source)
29. The total online donation revenue has been continually growing.
Blackbaud’s latest report notes that one in every ten online donors makes recurring monthly donations. There’s a 17.9% YoY revenue growth coming from sustained donors and 15.8% YoY growth in one-time online charitable giving, according to fundraising statistics.
(Luminate Online Benchmark Report)
30. The average online donation in the US is just under $130.
Online donors in the United States give an average donation of $128. Recurring online donors tend to give more to charities and nonprofits. Their average annual donation is $326. More than half (54%) of donors prefer online contributions via credit or debit card. PayPal, mobile apps, and text messages are the top choice for 9%, 4%, and 1% of donors worldwide, according to online giving statistics.
Also, 51% of wealthy individuals who give to charity prefer to donate money online. So, it’s not surprising that 67% of nonprofits worldwide accept online charitable giving.
31. On average, nonprofits received $42 per 1,000 fundraising emails sent.
Email marketing is one of the ways charities and nonprofits reach donors. The latest nonprofit statistics show that small nonprofits with less than 100,000 subscribers get an average of $71 per 1,000 emails sent. Medium and large nonprofits with 100,000–500,000 and over 500,000 subscribers generate fewer funds. Their respective averages per 1,000 emails sent are $36 and $32.
32. GivingTuesday remains a popular global event, both offline and online.
Fundraiser statistics show that in 2021, GivingTuesday collected a total of $2.7 billion, with almost $1 billion coming from online donations. In the same year, 35 million adults participated in the US in a variety of ways, and official campaigns were run in over 80 countries.
There were over 400 community campaigns in 60 countries. GivingTuesday is particularly popular in the United States, with donations growth outpacing consumer, Cyber Monday, and Black Friday spending.
33. Facebook is the top social platform for inspiring charity giving.
Nonprofits report the highest following on Facebook, with 736 FB fans per 1,000 email subscribers — 100% of participants also reported being online on the platform. In terms of followers, Twitter comes second with 229 fans per thousand email subscribers, and Instagram with 141.
Statistics on charitable giving rank Facebook as the most effective medium, yet the growth rates paint a different picture. While Meta’s Facebook scored a flat growth rate of 1%, Instagram followers grew by 25%.
American Charitable Giving by Demographics
34. Millennials donated the highest average amount to charity in 2021.
Millennials’ average donation to charity is about $637, followed closely by baby boomers with $633. Gen Zers donated an average of $553, while Gen Xers contributed $437. Charitable giving statistics by age group further reveal that more baby boomers donated to charity than any other generation and that these generations differ in terms of cause preferences.
Donation numbers to animal-related causes are the most popular among Gen Zers and millennials, while 47% of baby boomers reported giving to charities and religious groups — much higher than their younger counterparts.
35. 42% of Gen Zers and half of millennials donate at least once a month.
On the other hand, around 34% of baby boomers do the same. When it comes to regular donations, the survey found little difference between high and low-income households.
In fact, philanthropy statistics further reveal that those who donate to a charity regularly are 16% more likely than less-regular donors to say they are expecting to fix their finances within the next six months.
36. Almost half of Gen Zers donated to a cause they found out about on social media.
Social media is a driving force for raising awareness about key causes — almost one-third (29%) of participants donated to a cause they learned about on social media. This number spikes up to 49% for Gen Z, making them the generation most influenced by social media. Millennials follow with 37%, and the list rounds up with Gen Xers (25%) and baby boomers (14%), charity stats reveal.
37. Birmingham is the most charitable metro area in the US.
The survey examined the percentage of itemized returns with donations and of gross income donated to charity, as well as the average itemized charitable donation. Ultimately, trends in charitable giving disclosed that Birmingham, AL, scored a perfect 100 with an average donation of $17,883.
Statistics on charitable giving demographics further disclosed that San Jose, CA, was the most generous of metro areas. It ranked 17th overall, but donors give 3.5% of their gross income to charity on average, the highest among all metros.
38. Millennials have donated the most within the first six months after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nearly three out of four millennials have sent some kind of financial aid to family or friends or donated to a nonprofit within the first six months of the COVID pandemic. This is followed by Gen Zers and Gen Xers, with 66% and 63% of each claiming to have done the same. Nearly 54% of baby boomers further say they’ve sent financial aid at least once since the start of the COVID pandemic.
39. The percentage of male donors rose by 12 points between 2020 and 2021.
Before the pandemic, only a quarter of women said that donating to charity wasn’t an important part of their lives, compared to 31% of male participants. While the pandemic resulted in an increase for both genders, the most significant spike occurred in male participation.
According to the latest donation statistics, 81% of male participants said charitable giving was important to them in 2021, scoring a 12% increase, while for women, the number increased to 84%, with a 9-point increase.
40. Online charitable giving revenue for hunger/poverty-related causes decreased by 32%.
Despite scoring the biggest (and only) decrease in revenue of donations across all verticals, the revenue from online donations has risen by a whopping 273% between 2017 and 2021, with the indication of the biggest spike happening during 2020. The highest increase in online donation revenues happened with culture-related causes (27%), followed by disaster/international aid (16%) and environment (12%), as per online fundraising statistics.
41. Christian donors contribute more to monthly giving programs than Buddhist and Hindu donors.
Charitable giving by denomination numbers shows that about 45% of Christians are enrolled in a monthly giving program. In contrast, only 39% of Buddhists and 36% of Hindus are enrolled in such programs. Fundraising events attract about 62% of Christian donors, while they’re not as attractive among Buddhists (29%) and Hindus (36%). As for the favorite donating method, Buddhists prefer bank transfers, Christians direct mail, and Hindus cash, charity giving statistics report.
Speaking of Jewish and Muslim donors, 50% and 45%, respectively, are enrolled in monthly giving programs. Contributors from both religions (53% and 35%) prefer to donate online via credit and debit cards. Almost half of the donors from these religious groups (50% and 52%) attend fundraising events, charitable giving by religion trends show.
(Nonprofit Tech for Good)
Charity trends are slowly changing. While individuals remain the most prominent donors, the causes for giving and ways of donating are shifting. Religion is still the number one cause for donating, but the environment and human rights have noted strong growth too. The latest charitable giving statistics further show that more donors turn to online giving. Also, social media and especially Facebook, are established as a great way to reach new contributors and raise more money.
References: World Population Review, CAF Online, Generations, Classy, CAF Online, World Bank, Charitable Gift Planners, Foreign Assistance, Love to Know, Blackbaud Institute, Bank of America, Giving USA, Philanthropy Roundtable, AmeriCorps, Bank of America, Yahoo Finance, Nonprofits Source, NP Trust, Blackbaud Institute, Luminate Online Benchmark Report, GivingTuesday, MR Benchmarks, LendingTree, GWI, CNBC, Fidelity Charitable, Nonprofit Tech for Good