Giving Trends: Opportunities and Takeaways

Research | June 30, 2016

Earlier this year, the Giving Institute released their annual report outlining the 2015 trends in the US charitable sector.

According to this study, a total of $373 billion was donated to charitable causes in 2015, which amounts to over $1 billion per day in donations. These numbers are particularly noteworthy, as they illustrate a 4.1% increase in giving since 2014 (you can see a brief overview of the 2014 report in a past blog post here).

Without a doubt, 2015 was another record high for the US charitable sector.

While these figures primarily focus on our American counterparts, they are still noteworthy. We don’t have a similar report for Canada’s charitable sector for the 2015 calendar year. However, we can refer to the most recent Statistics Canada study for the year 2013, and take note of some similarities, differences, and opportunities that can empower individuals (like you!) to give.

What Causes Matter to Us

Religious organizations received the highest amount of donations in both the US (with 32%) and Canada (with 41%). The social service sector was another area that experienced a high number of donations with both Canada and the US contributing 12% of overall donations.

While both countries share commonalities, the biggest differences lie within educational and international organizations. Educational organizations received the second highest amount of donations (15%) in the US, compared to Canada (2.2%). Alternatively, health groups did not receive the same amount in the US (8.2%) as they did in Canada (13%). The graph below illustrates the difference in donation dollars between the two countries:

Giving Trends - Graph

Generational Trends in Giving

The US and Canada echo the same generational trends: baby boomers are able to make bigger donations than younger generations due to the fact that they are often mortgage-free and have no dependents.

While baby boomers contribute the most to the charitable sector, big opportunities also lie with millennials. Their idealism and digital literacy can benefit charities. Organizations can encourage donations and engagement from this age group by focusing more on this young generation and empower them to create change for causes they care about.

We will be diving deeper into the generational trends of giving in a later post!

The Way we Give

In the US, foundations experienced a 3.8% decline in donations over the last year. Many individuals see this form of giving as large and impersonal and prefer to support organizations that they are connected to on a deeper level.

This trend also occurs in Canada. A majority of individuals (91%) donated because they felt compassionate towards those in need. In addition, 88% of donors choose to support and help causes with which they have a deep connection.

Chimp addresses these areas of opportunity, offering an easy and transparent way to discover and support causes that resonate closely with donors.

While the total amount of donations differ between the US and Canada, both countries bear a similarity: there is no shortage of compassionate individuals choosing to give.


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