Although cash donations have long dominated research on charitable giving, the COVID-19 pandemic brought increased attention to other forms of giving, such as mutual aid and crowdfunding.

In our latest update to the Urban Institute’s Giving Dashboard, which provides a snapshot of the many ways Americans give, we highlight how giving via mutual aid, crowdfunding, and individual monetary donations has recently declined. Meanwhile, the value of donor-advised funds (DAFs) and noncash charitable contributions has risen. Tracking these and other trends in charitable giving can help nonprofit and philanthropy leaders adapt to the evolving giving landscape and sustain their organizations in the long term.

Here are five trends in charitable giving to watch:

  1. Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are an increasingly popular tool for giving.DAFs allow individuals and organizations to contribute money to a giving account, receive an immediate tax deduction, and give grants to nonprofits at a later time.
  2. Individual cash donations are declining.According to some indicators on the Giving Dashboard, both the number of individuals who gave to nonprofits and the amount individuals donated decreased in both 2022 and 2023. This trend is important for nonprofit and philanthropy leaders to watch because individual giving is the largest source of charitable contributions for nonprofits.
  3. Donations of noncash assets are rising.The annual value of noncash charitable contributions—a broad range of items that includes stocks, securities, vehicles, intellectual property, clothing, land, and buildings—increased by 135 percent between 2013 and 2021. Noncash assets have also become an increasingly popular way to give. Among all itemized charitable contributions, the share of noncash donations increased from 27 percent in 2013 to 46 percent in 2021.
  4. Workplace giving is changing.Created in 1961 by then-president John F. Kennedy, the Combined Federal Campaign is one of the largest workplace giving programs in the US. The program allows federal employees to deduct charitable contributions from their paychecks or give by credit card, debit card, or bank transfer to vetted charities. Since its creation, it has raised almost $8.7 billion.
  5. Mutual aid and crowdfunding are losing momentum.Although giving through mutual aid and crowdfunding soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, use of these tools has slowed more recently.

Read the full article about charitable giving trends by Hannah Martin and Laura Tomasko at Urban Institute.