George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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20 March 2019

Download the 2019 Giving in the USA report here.

In the last 12 months, more Americans are donating their money to charitable causes while also giving away their time to volunteer in their communities.

That’s according to the Charitable Giving in the USA 2019 report, a study of how Americans interact with charity published by CAF America. More than six in ten (62%) of Americans surveyed gave money in the last 12 months, either by donating to a charity, by giving to a church or religious organization, or by sponsoring someone, up from 55% the year before.

And this increase in American generosity isn’t limited to financial donations. More than a third (35%) of people volunteered in the last year, up from 31% in 2017. Religious organizations and churches are the most popular cause, with 36% of volunteers active in this area.

Other key findings of the research include:

  • The majority of Americans believe that charities have had a positive impact on their local communities and on the US as a whole (73%); moreover 62% believe the impact has been positive internationally
  • The mean amount donated or sponsored in the last year is $461, a significant rise from $382 year-on-year
  • Having more money themselves is the thing most likely to encourage Americans to donate more in the coming 12 months, remaining unchanged since 2017 (47%)
  • Caring about the cause is the most common reason for donating (53% of donors) followed by wanting to help people less fortunate (42%), trusting the organization they donate to (42%), believing we all need to help solve social problems, making them feel good and realizing they can make a difference (all 33%)

USA Giving body image

As was the case last year, those aged 55 and over are the most likely age group to have done any   kind of charitable activity, with 76% taking part in the last 12 months and 55% in the last four weeks. Baby-boomers are again more likely than other age groups to have donated or sponsored over the last 12 months (68% compared to 53% of 18-24 year olds).

Commenting on the report, Ted Hart, Chief Executive Officer and President of CAF America adds:

“So many Americans have stepped up to the plate in the last 12 months and supported the causes that they care about, reflecting our nation’s long and rich tradition of charity and philanthropic giving. At a time when nonprofits around the world are struggling to maintain their financial sustainability, it’s great to see so many Americans continuing that commitment to positive social change.”

Notes to editors:


This report is based on data collected by YouGov on behalf of CAF.

In the USA, 1,193 interviews were completed online between 2nd and 31st August 2018. The survey was conducted using YouGov’s online panel.

The sample is nationally representative and is weighted to known population data on demographics including age, gender, and region.

Differences are reported at the 95% confidence level (the level of confidence that the results are a true reflection of the whole population). The maximum margin of error (the amount of random sampling error) is calculated as ±3%.

About CAF America

CAF America is a global grantmaking organization assisting corporations, foundations and individuals with their philanthropic strategies. With offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver we streamline the grantmaking process to eliminate risk and administrative burden, and help donors support great causes through strategic, effective and tax-advantaged international and domestic grants.

Working with colleagues at our principle office in London, CAF America can offer The CAF American Donor Fund, a giving solution for individuals and companies that pay tax in both the USA and UK. The CAF American Donor Fund allows donors to achieve greater impact with their philanthropy by helping to claim the maximum reliefs available in both countries.

In the last 5 years alone, CAF America has granted more than $532 million in donor funds to more than 4,000 foreign charitable organizations in over 110 countries.

About CAF

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a leading international charity registered in the United Kingdom, with nine offices covering six continents.

CAF exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed.

CAF is a charity and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. Through CAF Bank, it offers simple and straightforward day-to-day banking, designed exclusively for charities.

We are CAF and we make giving count.

About CAF Global Alliance

The CAF Global Alliance is a leading international network of independent, locally led organisations working at the forefront of philanthropy and civil society. It is a champion for better giving and civil society and harnesses local knowledge and expertise to help donors, companies and civil society make a bigger impact. Last year more than 70,000 charities received over £500m in donations in more than 100 countries.

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