The Giving Institute recently released its Annual Report… This year’s study showed that charitable giving is steadily rising, realizing a 2.7% increase from last year. Giving by foundations also increased to an estimated 8.2%, a 2.5% increase from last year. 

Perhaps the most impressive finding was the report’s highlight of philanthropy in the religious sector. In 2014, Giving USA stated that religious giving had slightly declined. In 2015, the numbers are up, with giving to religious causes realizing a 2.5% increase in total. Overall, giving to religious organizations compromised 32% of all charitable contributions made within the last year, allowing religious contributions to reach their highest inflation-adjusted value ever at $144.90 billion.

Additional highlights from the 2015 Giving USA report included a 15.5% increase in giving by bequest, and a 13.7% increase in giving by corporations.

This is from an email that hit my inbox today from the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia

I wonder how much of the increase in corporate giving a result of charitable initiatives v. employee matching gifts. When looking at religious organizations, I wonder how much of that is churches v. NGO type organizations like Catholic Charities.

I created a Catholic Foundation donor advised fund with my family, and it’s something we want to grow in an intentional way, rather than through family bequests for instance. I haven’t figured out what a growth plan looks like yet, but the key goal will be expanding its appeal beyond family giving.

I’m interested in seeing more charitable donors do that sort of thing—creating donor advised endowed or nonendowed funds that can energize their friends, family, coworkers, community, etc. It makes charitable giving a more concrete and transparent activity than anonymous or bequest gifts, which is typically good for the mission you’re supporting.