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In 2017, charitable giving in the United States reached a new milestone, surpassing $400 billion for the first time and recording the highest inflation-adjusted level ever. Responding to a growing economy, Americans contributed $410.02 billion to organizations across the nonprofit sector, according to Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy.

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2016 was the third year of consecutive growth in U.S. charitable giving, with philanthropy reaching a new high of $390.05 billion according to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. In a year of decreased bequests and mega-gifts, this growth represented a modest advance propelled by the widespread generosity of individuals.

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As the sixth largest economy in the world and a powerhouse of innovation, California affects the entire philanthropic market. To better understand philanthropy in California, we assembled a comprehensive overview of giving trends in the state since the Great Recession of 2007–2009. This report is designed to help professionals and organizations in California navigate the uneven philanthropic landscape that has persisted ever since the banking and housing crises of those years first hit. As a harbinger of larger trends throughout the nation, we also hope this report will inform individuals engaged in philanthropic work in communities and other regions throughout the nation.

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According to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, Americans set a new giving record in 2016, contributing $390.05 billion to a wide range of nonprofit organizations. This outcome is remarkable, if more modest than some anticipated, as there were fewer mega-gifts of more than $200 million and bequests dropped 9.0 percent in current dollars. While the 2016 growth rate in total giving—2.7 percent in current dollars—was below the five-year average, the results reflect broad-based philanthropic support in smaller amounts that culminated in a record year of giving.

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According to Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, 2015 set a record as America’s most generous year in philanthropy with a total of $373.25 billion, a direct reflection of both economic improvement and the dedication of philanthropists driving Americans to record levels of giving.

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CHICAGO, IL (June 14, 2016) - In 2015, charitable giving in the U.S. reached a total of $373.25 billion - an increase of 4.1 percent in current dollars between 2014 and 2015, according to Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. The increase in charitable giving by all sources marks consecutive, record-setting years in total giving, a direct reflection of both economic improvement and the dedication of hardworking philanthropists driving Americans to record levels of giving.     

“The results this year—milestones for giving in the USA—are truly inspiring. The total of $373.25 billion is 2.1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a watermark reinforcing Americans’ commitments to organizations that impact both their lives and those of their fellow citizens,” says Peter Fissinger, President & Chief Executive Officer of Campbell & Company, a national fundraising consulting and executive search firm for nonprofits. “The continued upward trend is heartening, and those of us in this industry will strive to help the organizations we serve build upon such generosity, further advancing their missions in the world.” 

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In 2014, the education sector received the second-largest amount of charitable giving out of all nonprofit sectors – reaching a total of $54.62 billion, according to Giving USA 2015: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. Contributions to the education sector comprised of 15 percent of total giving in 2014. The report shows that Americans donated an estimated $358.38 billion in total, which is the highest level in the report's 60-year history. When assessing charitable giving to the education sector in particular, the data shows a steady growth in charitable contributions. Between the years of 2013 and 2014, giving to education increased by 4.9 percent. Below are some more key findings and recommendations that are intended to help organizations in education effectively prepare for their future in fundraising.

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In 2014, charitable giving to nonprofit organizations in the health sector reached a total of $30.37 billion – a total of 8 percent of all donations received by charities in 2014, according to Giving USA 2015: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. The health sector continues to grow at an increasingly steady pace. Contributions to health organizations increased by 5.5 percent from 2013. This increase in charitable giving to health organizations is a positive indicator during this time of ongoing change for the sector. Below are some key findings and recommendations that are intended to help health organizations prepare for their future in fundraising.

Nonprofit Trends, Giving USA, Healthcare Trends