Charitable giving in the U.S. reached a record $485 billion in 2021, though giving is not keeping pace with inflation, according to a report released this week by Giving USA.
The Giving USA report says donations in 2021 were 4 percent higher than in 2020, but down 0.7 percent when adjusted for inflation. Many nonprofits are feeling financial strains because giving in not growing as fast as price increases, said Laura MacDonald, chair of the Giving USA Foundation.
“The story of charitable giving in 2021 is closely tied to the events of 2020, a historic year that included a global pandemic, economic crisis and recovery, efforts to advance racial justice, and an unprecedented philanthropic response,” MacDonald said. “In 2021, Americans continued giving more generously than before the pandemic. However, the growth in giving did not keep pace with inflation, causing challenges for many nonprofits.”
Charitable giving last year was bolstered by strong market conditions, particularly for corporations and wealthy Americans, as the stock market and GDP recovered to pre-pandemic levels early in 2021 and continued to grow throughout the year.