News and analysis
January 28, 2015

Atlas of Giving Says Charitable Donations Grew 9% Last Year, to $457-Billion

Charitable giving will fall by more than 3 percent this year, to $442.1-billion, after growing by more than 9 percent in 2014, to $456.7-billion, a new survey estimates.

Giving in 2014 was bolstered by a healthy surge in year-end donations.

But the gains in 2014 are unlikely to hold this year when giving will be "bleak at best," the researchers speculate.

The Atlas of Giving says its findings are produced by a team of 25 mathematicians using 65 economic algorithms, but the organization doesn’t provide specifics on how it compiles its figures.

Researchers, who acknowledged that their "forecast will change as events unfold throughout the year," cite several factors that could cause charitable giving to fall in 2015. Among them: possible declines in the stock market following it’s lengthy rally, a likely increase in interest rates, weakening economies in Europe, and low compensation levels among workers that are still beneath pre-recession levels.

Some fundraisers have been skeptical of the survey’s validity and its value to charities. "Giving was healthy in 2014, and 2015 is looking strong," said Barlow Mann, a Memphis planned-giving consultant. "It’s too early to predict. You might as well predict the weather a year in advance."

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