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All-Time High of $471.44 Billion in 2020! Charitable Giving Up 5.1% in Current Dollars, Up 3.8% Adjusted for Inflation

Generous Americans supported charitable causes with individual gifts, bequests, foundation grants, and corporate giving with a record-setting $471.44 billion during a year of horrific COVID-19 pandemic-related deaths, civil unrest, and massive societal shut-downs. Many schools closed, shifting to remote online learning, and offices and businesses, including many charities, adopted remote work strategies.

In Giving USA 2021: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2020, a publication of the Giving USA Foundation, 2021, researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, results show the highest single year of charitable giving in history. The previous high was in 2017.

Buoyed by a strong second half and year-end stock market surge, many people shared their gains with charities. Even though required withdrawals from IRAs were waived in 2020, some made payments directly from their accounts to help charities while avoiding income that would otherwise have been taxable to themselves.

Gifts from individuals and their bequests rose. Foundation giving rose significantly while corporate giving declined, many believe as a result of a lower GDP and reduced pre-tax corporate profits.

The important takeaway for most of us is that giving by individuals, their bequests, and their family foundations amounted to an overwhelming 87% of the 2020 giving.

For your own copy of the Another Perspective bar chart as a fully animated PowerPoint slide and/or to receive the Giving USA/Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Press Release with its useful highlights that will make you an instant expert, click the links below. For a free Giving USA 2020 Highlights Report go to to download it or to order a copy of the full report.

If you prefer either the bar chart or the press release (or both) directly, email me at and ask me to send them to you as an attachment.

Giving USA/Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Press Release

Another Perspective Bar Chart

You may download them by right-clicking and selecting “Save link as…”. 

Nonprofit Consulting PlaybookSandy is one of the 25 expert authors who contributed to this essential book for nonprofit consultants.

“The beauty of this book lies in the honesty of its 25 contributors. They write openly about the decisions that guided their business models, their early mistakes, and their lessons learned. Even those in this business for decades have commented that their copies of The Playbook are strewn with highlights and bookmarks.” Click here to learn more.

Giving USA 2021

Helpful Thoughts

  • Always put a volunteer between yourself and a problem.

  • Possessing facts does not make us better,
    just different. 

  • Knowledge is a right NOT a privilege.

  • If something is worth doing, it is worth doing
    with local support and initiative.

  • Share the essence of your message
    with everyone everyday. 

  • Ours is not a speaking part.

  • He who deliberates fully before taking
    a step with spend his entire life on one leg.

We have found the following helpful thoughts to have special meaning in our lives.

Capital Gift Campaign Simulator

Think you’re ready to launch your Capital Gift Campaign? Take a tour through our simulator and see just how prepared you are. Guaranteed to make you think! Click here to start now.