It always takes a while to gather all the info needed to calculate giving trends, so the information often starts to feel stale. However, here are some tidbits from a Nonprofit Times article – Americans Feeling Better, Giving More.
The Giving USA Foundation research for 2013 shows giving increased in 2013 by about 3% on an inflation-adjusted basis.
Individual giving was up 4.2% in total, which is 2.7% after an inflation adjustment. That represents 72% of total giving.
Lesson learned, according to the article? Focus on individual giving more than foundations or corporations or government funding.
Giving by sector shows substantial increases in education (+8.9%), environment/animals (+6.7%), and health (+6%).
Giving to the religious sector was down 0.2%, which is a 1.4% drop on inflation-adjusted basis.
Long-term trend in this study is that giving to religious charities has lagged behind other sectors.
Giving in 2013 continued to be about 2% of GDP. My understanding is 2% is the long-term relationship.