A new report shows charitable giving fell 3.4% in 2022.

According to a Giving USA report published Tuesday, this is only the fourth time in four decades giving has fallen in a given year.

Una Osili, the Giving USA report’s lead researcher and associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, told The Associated Press, “At the beginning of the 21st century, two-thirds of Americans gave. Today, that is down to under 50% for the first time. So giving has grown, but fewer people are participating.”

According to the AP, charitable giving hit record highs in 2020 and 2021 in part because of needs that grew out of the COVID-19 pandemic. But inflation has led to fewer donations and has hit the value of those donations as well.

Shanice Brown, development director for the New York nonprofit organization Community Help in Park Slope, better known as CHiPS, told the AP, “Donations declined — and donated food as well — because as the price of things increase, people need more and so they donate less.”

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Jared Perry, chief revenue officer at Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, told the AP that an increase in rental car prices has increased their costs, and one way they’ve tried to make up for that is by asking supporters to donate airline miles or hotel points.

Despite rising inflation and interest rates, Forbes reported many Americans are still wanting to give to others, adding that “after COVID-19 and a market slide, Americans are sending a signal: They’re ready to step up their giving in uncertain times.”

Forbes, reporting on Fidelity Charitable’s 2023 Giving Report, said their donors “recommended a record 2.2 million grants worth $11.2 billion to 189,000 charities in 2022,” almost $1 billion more in grant dollars than the year before.”

And 77% of people who donated through Fidelity Charitable donated to nonprofits they supported in the past, Forbes reported, adding that, “When people show that kind of commitment to their favorite charities, they create a reliable, consistent stream of revenue that nonprofits can count on.”

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Donating tips

Fidelity Charitable lists tips on how donors can improve charitable giving, which include:

  • Talking to a financial planner or adviser to help you contribute to charities while also covering personal needs and wants.
  • Understanding how charities work by calling the organizations directly or using charity research tools to look up information.
  • Teaching family members how to donate to charities, which deepens “the impact your family has now and into the future on a worthy cause,” and increases the amount given.

Utah Business said many state businesses prioritize charitable giving, adding, “Utah’s business community has played a major role in establishing Utah’s spirit of generosity.”

When addressing the role of giving in a business, James Clarke, a philanthropist and founder of Clearlink, said “It is important to understand that philanthropy is not a destination, but one of the best parts of the journey,” per the magazine.