News and analysis
February 03, 2016

Gifts Will Rise 2.6% This Year, Study Projects

Charitable giving is expected to rise 2.6 percent in 2016, to $489.8 billion, according to a new report.

Giving is expected to be modest as a result of recent turmoil in the stock market, the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hike in December, and political giving that will drive donors’ dollars away from nonprofits, said a report recently released by Atlas of Giving.

Still, some positive trends may have a beneficial effect on donor behavior, the study notes, including low oil and gas prices and improved unemployment rates.

Atlas of Giving releases a monthly charitable-giving report; the most recent publication offers a forecast for the present year.

The projections will likely change each month, as the factors the group analyzes change, said Rob Mitchell, chief executive of Atlas of Giving.

Last month, another research team put the projections for 2016 higher, forecasting charity growth of 4.1 percent in 2016. The report was compiled by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Marts and Lundy, a philanthropy consulting firm.

Catering to Millennials

Charities should pay attention to stock-market activity so they can benefit from improvements in the market, the Atlas report advises. It also suggests that organizations continue to steward donors and cater to their millennial supporters with technology and by touting the results of their work.

At the end of 2015, giving was up 4.6 percent, reaching a total of $477.6 billion. It was the largest amount ever recorded, the report notes. Giving was better than the group had forecast in a similar report last year because of stock-market growth early in the year and improvements in the unemployment picture, the report says.

The group says it develops its findings with the help of a team of 25 mathematicians, analysts, and statisticians, who created 65 economic algorithms to determine their forecasts. Atlas does not provide more detailed information about its methodology.

Send an email to Timothy Sandoval.