The United States is the most charitable country in the world according to Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index report from 2019, which analyzed data from the past 10 years. From my perspective, I expect we'll see giving continue to rise with the expansion of the broader economy.

Even in the context of Covid-19, American philanthropy showed its resilience. According to an analysis from Blackbaud Institute, overall giving increased as did the average donation amount. I heard a story recently of a woman who, after the pandemic’s impact started to unfold, committed to donating 50% of her salary throughout the remainder of 2020 to pay the rent for a local charity’s building. The spirit of generosity is alive and thriving. Giving is shown to be one of the healthiest human activities because it can help people cultivate purpose.

The composition of who is donating and how they are donating, however, has shifted considerably over the last two decades, and this trend will likely increase in pace over the next two.

What is the shift? The dollars donated in America are moving from the middle class to the wealthy, from income to assets, and from boomers to millennials. These are not the same trends, but they are correlated. Overlapping the trends, wealthy, asset-holding millennials is where philanthropy is increasing the fastest. In other words, philanthropy is shifting from the middle-class boomer to people like Mark Zuckerberg.

Let’s break down some of the trends.

  • Giving is shifting more toward the wealthy.
  • A greater share of giving will come from appreciated assets as opposed to cash.
  • Wealth and giving are both shifting to millennials at increasing rates. 

Read the full article about how philanthropy is changing by Stephen Kump at Forbes.