Americans Remain Generous in Their Support of Organizations and Causes That Matter to Them

Today the Giving USA Foundation™ and its research partner, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, today announced that the estimated total charitable contributions from American individuals, corporations and foundations were $290.89 billion in 2010, up for a revised total of $280.30 billion for 2009. The 2010 figure represents growth of 3.8 percent in current dollars and 2.1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

With U.S. charitable giving showing a modest up-tick in 2010 the report reveals essential information based on the patterns of giving in the US, and is instrumental for nonprofits looking to better understand their donor base.

Key facts and figures from 2010 include:


Total estimated charitable giving in the U.S. increased 3.8% in 2010.


Individual giving increased 2.7% in 2009. Individual giving is 73% of all giving or $211.77 billion.


Corporate giving increased 10.6% to $15.29 billion. Corporate giving continues to reflect gifts of in-kind donations on behalf of American companies.


Giving to religion was steady at 0.8% in 2010 and remains the largest share of all contributions estimated at $100.63 billion.


Giving to education increased 5.2% in 2010.


Giving to foundations rose by 1.9%.


Giving to arts, culture and humanities rose 5.7%.

The data demonstrates reasons for continued hope and possibility. As the report indicates, individuals continue to demonstrate a strong and steady generosity to their local charities and nonprofits. Combined with bequests and family foundations, individual giving contributes 88% of total philanthropic giving. As we continue to move forward and out of what had been dismal, understanding what matters to our donor base matters more than ever.

The complete Giving USA 2011 report, with data covering 2010 giving, will be available at, beginning June 20, 2011. An executive summary with some key findings will be available without charge.

Giving USA is a public outreach initiative of Giving USA Foundation™.

Visit to purchase the Full Report

Talk the Talk

Over the past handful of years, I have attended and seen a lot of advertisements for webinars and seminars on social media. People with self-proclaimed expertise offer insight and strategy suggestions for businesses and nonprofits alike, mostly based on personal and professional experience of using the tools to successfully leverage more customers or better customer service.

I've had the privilege to work with groups of young people in their early 30's on very dynamic projects such as Wonderland Columbus, an organization renovating the 60,000 square foot iconic Wonder Bread factory for re-use to house art studios, nonprofit programming and community outreach in the arts. As I've learned quickly while working with them, if you're going to understand how to use social media, you have to strive to understand the generation that is dependent upon it. Younger people saw a communication gap and created a set of tools to fill that space, a space that was not formerly recognized by my peers or me. We are not just learned how to use new tools-we are learning how to communicate in new ways.

There is a profound difference between self-taught social media users and trained users. The difference is almost as obvious as trained speakers and native speakers of a language. The way native speakers of social media utilize the tools has far more to do with culture, behavior, a way of thinking and an approach to life than it does with technology. Learning how to utilize social media is not learning how to garner followers on Twitter or 1,000 Facebook fans. It's about learning and appreciating the new ways we share our opinions, passions and stores with each other.

I think a lot about my daughter who is currently abroad in Azerbaijan. She will never be a native speaker of Azeri, but she strives to spend as much time as possible with her native peers who speak the language fluently in order to pick up the important cultural nuances we miss when simply learning a language from a tape. She can write and study the language intensely, but did not learn that there are multiple ways in the language to offer and accept a cup of tea, and the necessity of drinking tea every time you enter the home as a guest.

What I'm trying to say is this: you will gain much valuable insight from the webinars and speaking engagements geared toward new social media users, more information about the way people use the technology of social media than you could ever imagine. But in order to truly understand where social media is going from a philanthropic standpoint, you have to spend time among the native speakers. These incredible young people of Wonderland have a powerful voice online because they have integrated social media into their lifestyle and they don't know any different. A picture they post on Facebook of a board meeting or a video case statement housed on YouTube is simply second nature to them, and by keeping donors, volunteers and community members engaged through social media, Wonderland keeps its constituency interested and informed. Spend time among the true social media successes of philanthropy and your language skills will vastly improve.

Welcome to The Hodge Group Team!

John C. Riley, CFRE - Senior Counsel - Naples, Florida

John specializes in an inside-out, top-down model of fundraising that emphasizes peer-to-peer inspiration and maximizes momentum. Since 2007, he has worked with clients through every stage of planning and implementation of fundraising strategies. He has advised and trained nonprofit executives and boards and led clients to increase operating revenues by as much as 50% while meeting ambitious capital goals - even during the economic downturn.


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