WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Charitable Giving Coalition is encouraged by the historic giving levels reported in the 2021 GivingUSA Report released today. GivingUSA 2021 reports on total charitable giving during calendar year 2020.
According to the new report, total giving reached a record high of $471.44 billion and individual giving reached a high of $324.1 billion in 2020. When adjusted for inflation, total giving increased by 3.8 percent and individual giving increased by 1 percent. However, certain subsectors did see declines, in both real dollars and inflation-adjusted dollars, signaling that not all organizations benefited from these increases.
“Last year, we saw unprecedented demand for services from charities in response to the pandemic and its associated economic impacts, and generous Americans clearly stepped up to help those in need in their communities,” said Brian Flahaven, chair of the Charitable Giving Coalition. “While we know Americans increase their charitable giving in times of crisis for a number of reasons, most prominently genuine altruism, we also know the charitable deduction enables them to give more than they otherwise would.”
The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, included a temporary universal charitable deduction, capped at $300, which was then increased to $600 for joint filers and extended through 2021 in the year-end COVID relief bill. Last year was the first year in more than three decades that nonitemizers were able to deduct at least some of their charitable giving. Moreover, according to data from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, gifts of $300 (the exact amount of the deduction for individuals) on December 31st saw an increase of 28 percent. 
“While we’re encouraged by the initial increase in giving in 2020, the sector is still not out of the woods,” said Flahaven. “Nonprofit employment remains down from 2019 levels, with 800,000 fewer jobs now than before the pandemic. Estimates indicate it will take at least until the end of 2022 to return to pre-COVID levels of employment.” 
“As our country enters the recovery phase, charities and faith-based organizations on the ground continue to provide critical support to their local communities,” said Flahaven. “However, it’s unclear whether 2020 giving levels will sustain through 2021 and beyond. The Charitable Giving Coalition looks forward to working with lawmakers to drive even more giving through the next few years of recovery by increasing the cap on and extending the availability of the universal charitable deduction by enacting the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act (S. 618, H.R. 1704).”
The Charitable Giving Coalition
Representing private and community foundations, their grantees and independent charities, the Charitable Giving Coalition’s members include United Way Worldwide, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities USA, the American Council on Education, Jewish Federations of North America, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Independent Sector, the Council on Foundations, and United Philanthropy Forum, among others. Formed in 2009, 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