Charitable giving in America totaled $298.42 billion in 2011 — equal to about 2.0% of our nation's gross domestic product. We have the highest percentage of giving of any nation in the world, as measured by percentage of the economy and by total dollars. Individuals gave $217.8 billion, with corporations and foundations giving the remainder. This continues a long tradition of generosity that has helped our country provide opportunities for people across a broad economic spectrum.
To follow the rapidly changing trends in philanthropy, consult these key industry publications:
- The Giving USA Foundation issues a detailed annual report on U.S. charitable giving and offers a useful summary of the basic facts.
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy is a weekly newspaper aimed at professionals working in nonprofit organizations. The Web site offers interesting feature stories and an excellent search function for topics related to philanthropy.
- Philanthropy Matters, published twice a year by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, is written in accessible language. It summarizes useful research, and you can access the majority of its content online.
Major trends and ongoing research in philanthropy can also be tracked via the Indiana University Center and the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College. Program publications are also a source of general information on charitable giving.