The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that according to Giving USA’s report findings released today, charitable donations fell by nearly 6% in 2008, the sharpest drop in 53 years. Americans gave over $300 billion to nonprofit organizations in 2008, amounting to about 2% of the gross domestic product. As the article points out, the decline from the previous year was not as stark as some expected, due to the fact that the crisis deepened during the second half of last year.
The full report is not available yet, but according the the report press release there were several sobering findings for groups that serve the poor:
• Compared with 2007, 54 percent of human services charities saw an increase in need for their services in 2008; 30 percent saw little change in need; and 16 percent saw a decline;
• For 2009, 60 percent of the surveyed human services organizations were cutting expenses, including cutting services or staff, due to funding shortages;
• The type of human service agency most likely to be underfunded was youth development/serving children and youth. Of this type of group in the study, 74 percent said they are underfunded or severely underfunded, meaning that current available funding was insufficient to meet current demand; and
• Among organizations working to meet people’s basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc.), more than half (53 percent) said they are underfunded or severely underfunded for 2009.