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Where is Giving Going—Mid-Year 2016?

Giving USA recently published its 2015 study. The report posted both positive and negative news on giving.

The positive? In 2015, Americans continued their steady stream of giving, with $373.3 billion going to charity. And in looking to the future, the prospects for rapid growth in estate-giving appear bright. Bequest giving totaled $31.8 billion, and as the population ages, that number should only go up.

On the flip side, here are a few noteworthy challenges we’re facing:

  1. Although giving is increasing, it’s increasing at a slower pace. The giving growth slowed from 6.1 percent in 2014 to 4.0 percent in 2015.
  2. Giving to foundations grew 5.3 percent in 2014 but decreased by 4 percent in 2015.
  3. Recession fears continue to put a damper on future predictions. Some experts predict giving to grow by only 2.6 percent or hold at 4 percent.
  4. In a year where giving was up by 4 percent, charities associated with health and religion only grew by 1.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

The issue of a lag in religious giving is particularly troublesome. For years, the overall rate of giving has followed the rate of religious giving. As giving to religion goes, so goes giving. A long-term decline in religious giving may lead to a larger overall decline.

What gives us hope beyond all the market and expert predictions? More and more people are growing to understand the “science of generosity.” Living generously makes you happy—no matter what the market or experts may be saying.

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: » Learn More

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