Giving USA 2016 was released on June 14, 2016. Total charitable giving in the U.S. rose an estimated 4.1% to more than $373 billion in 2015. Other key highlights include:

  • For the first time in a decade, the combined two-year growth (2014–2015) has reached double-digits, 10.3%, when adjusted for inflation.
  • Giving increased from all sources: living individuals, bequests, foundations, and corporations.
  • Giving by living individuals accounted for 71% of all contributions in 2015.
  • Giving grew by more than five-percent (in inflation-adjusted dollars) in five of the nine recipient entities: education; public-society benefit; arts, culture, and humanities; international affairs, and environment/animal.
  • Giving as a percentage of GDP remained at 2.1%.
  • Giving to international affairs increased the most of any sector between 2014 and 2015, at 17.5%

What does this data mean for you and your nonprofit organization? And how do you turn this data into actionable strategies for the year ahead?

  • Mega-gifts, or gifts of $100 million and higher continue to play a large role in philanthropy. While your organization may or may not be soliciting gifts of $100 million or more, this trend is still important to factor into your organization’s strategy. Focusing on building or strengthening major gift programs can be instrumental in producing increased fundraising results.
  • Individuals continue to be the largest source of charitable contributions. Down 1% from 2014, individuals accounted for 71% of all contributions in 2015. In addition, another 9% of contributions (up 1% from 2014) are from individuals making bequests. Preparing your major gifts team to make double asks—either adding a bequest proposal to an outright gift or multi-year pledge, or vice versa—can help you maximize giving from individuals.
  • The fundamentals are working. The results of Giving USA 2016 demonstrate, as expected, a continuation of already identified and established trends in post-recession philanthropy. This is great news! The fundamentals of fundraising are proving to be successful. What this means for us as fundraising professionals, is that we can have confidence in our fundraising basics and can now turn to strategies to continue to grow and enhance our results, including increased use of donor analytics, robust stewardship activities, and productive volunteer engagement.

Because we value highly your partnership in philanthropy with BWF, we are happy to offer an exclusive promotional code that will allow you to purchase any of the Giving USA 2016 products at a 30% discount. Use Discount Code: give13. It is just one way we would like to say thank you for the confidence you have placed in us.

Together we transform philanthropy—contact us at (952) 921-0111 or visit to learn more.

Originally published June 14, 2016

Copyright © 2016 Bentz Whaley Flessner & Associates, Inc.

Share This