Tracy Teale, CPA, Audit Partner and San Francisco Office Head.
Tracy TealeCPA / CFO / A&A Department Head / San Francisco Office Headview bio

The State of Charitable Donations


The effects of the pandemic on donations have been significant for all not-for-profits as most events and other fundraising events have been canceled.

According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s 2020 First Quarter Report, charitable giving declined 6% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same time last year.

Based on estimates in the most recent Giving USA report, total giving in 2019 was $449.64 billion and will decline by $25 billion in 2020 if the decrease continues throughout the year.

Still, there are some encouraging signs. For example, donations under $250 were up 6% – a result of the CARES Act that allows individual taxpayers to deduct charitable donations of up to $300 on their 2020 federal tax return, even though they take the standard deduction.

At the same time, corporate philanthropy has been through the roof with the current total of large charitable gifts from corporations, foundations and individuals, including faith-based and other sources at $14.2 billion as of September 24, 2020 according to Candid.

The main share of the donations has come from corporations, whose pledges have topped $4 billion worldwide when including funds from corporate-controlled foundations.

While the pandemic has highlighted the debate over the role of philanthropy, it has also shown that Americans have an affinity for charity and that not-for-profits are resilient. Across the country, there is a generosity taking place at the community level by folks who are stepping up to help their neighbors.  

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

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