What Could a Potential Recession Mean for Giving?
I recently had the opportunity to publish an opinion piece for The Virginian-Pilot as a follow-up to my recent presentations on results of Giving USA 2022: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2021. Check out the full article here.
The article discussed my passion for the Giving USA Foundation and the information it disseminates. In addition to my appreciation for the incredible data released by the foundation, I am passionate because every year it reaffirms an attribute of Americans of which I am most proud: our GENEROSITY. This year’s report shows that Americans continued to be incredibly generous, contributing $485 billion to charity last year. This is a 4% increase following a decade of unprecedented growth.
However, in many recent conversations, this positive news is tinged with an underlying concern: what will be the impact of a potential recession or slowdown on the heels of a pandemic, social and racial justice issues, inflation, supply chain concerns, staffing shortages and so many other challenges?
As someone who has spent the last 40 years working with nonprofits throughout the country, I think it is important that we don’t lose sight of what is true in the face of a potential recession.
Through many challenging times, politically, socially and economically, Americans have remained committed to charitable giving. Historically, even during times of recession, charitable giving stays strong. Since 1981, giving has only decreased three times (in current dollars). Two of those three years were during the Great Recession, but since then, giving has grown to the highest levels on record. We have been through hard times, and we need to be reminded: it will be challenging, but our country has always persevered.
Charitable giving throughout our country is so much more than just a number. It protects lives, inspires hope and reminds us that Americans are generous, especially through the toughest times.