WASHINGTON, D.C.— On Tuesday, June 18, GivingUSA released The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018. The results are troubling. At a time when the U.S. economy is growing at a healthy rate, charitable giving should also be growing or at least keeping pace. Instead, GivingUSA found that charitable giving by individuals dropped an inflation-adjusted 3.4 percent in 2018.
Unfortunately, this decline in giving will negatively impact the charitable sector, particularly those families, individuals, and communities who depend on our organizations. That means fewer meals served, fewer individuals housed, fewer educational opportunities, and fewer services provided by charities across the country.
To put this in perspective, a 3.4 percent decline in individual giving (roughly $10 billion) is more than the combined operating budgets of these well-known national charitable organizations: American Red Cross, Goodwill Industries International, Inc., YMCA of the USA, Habitat for Humanity, United Way Worldwide, Catholic Charities USA, and American Cancer Society.
The Charitable Giving Coalition has voiced concern about two alarming trends in charitable giving. First, fewer Americans are making charitable contributions. Second, fewer Americans are itemizing their tax returns and thus are not incentivized to give more. The GivingUSA results show that both factors contributed to the decline in individual giving in 2018, and nearly every type of recipient organization—from religion to education to human services—saw giving decline or stay flat.
Congress can restore giving and reverse these trends by enacting a universal charitable deduction.
“A universal charitable deduction would ensure that all Americans, regardless of income or whether they itemize their tax returns, have an incentive to give more to charity,” said Brian Flahaven, chair of the Charitable Giving Coalition Hill Working Group and senior director for advocacy at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
The Charitable Giving Coalition urges lawmakers to take action to ensure the charitable sector remains a strong and vital force for good.
The Charitable Giving Coalition
Formed in 2009, the coalition is a broad cross-section of nonprofit organizations across the country, including both the nonprofit organizations themselves and the associations and umbrella groups that serve their needs. The coalition is dedicated to preserving the charitable giving incentive that ensures that our nation’s charities receive the funds necessary to fulfill their essential philanthropic missions. The coalition provides a unique and unified voice on Capitol Hill on issues affecting the charitable deduction, a voice composed of both direct lobbying and robust grassroots advocacy. www.charitablegivingcoalition.org, @CGC_DC