Individual giving is on the rise, according to Giving USA 2017, which was released today. The long-standing annual report on charitable giving states that in 2016, total giving from individuals, foundations, and corporations reached a new record high of $390.05 billion, an increase of 2.7% from last year.

The report details that this increase was driven largely by individual giving, which accounted for an impressive $281.86 billion, an increase of 3.9%. This growth offset a lower growth rate from foundation giving and a 9% decline in giving from bequests.

Of particular note is that this year, all nine major charitable subsectors, from education to the environment, saw positive growth in giving, a feat that has only ever been achieved six times since 1976, when reporting began. This is especially notable because there were no major international disasters in 2016 to cause a spike in donations, yet giving to public-society benefit and human services still saw growth.

Here are some of the other key highlights from the report:

  • In spite of the increase in total individual giving, there were actually fewer mega-gifts (defined as $200 million and above) in 2016 than the previous year
  • Giving to education grew by 3.6%
  • The overall distribution of giving across the various subsectors remained largely the same, with only minor shifts

The new numbers from Giving USA 2017 demonstrate that engaging individuals and their families with causes that are meaningful to them is even more critical than ever before. To facilitate as much meaningful philanthropy as possible, development professionals need more than just a talent for building donor relationships, but also a talent for cultivating an internal culture of philanthropy that reaches all staff members who are in contact with individuals, from the support staff, to physicians or academic faculty, through to executive leadership.


To practice your critical skills in donor engagement, join us at a public workshop offering of The Art and Science of Donor Development.


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To order your copy of the full repot, visit Giving USA 2017.


View the full report: Giving USA 2017