The shift from charity to philanthropy
Pretty much the entire U.S. nonprofit sector is witnessing a move from individually-determined charitable donations to institutionally-determined philanthropic strategies.
Why it matters: A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies shows megaphilanthropy crowding out individual donations.
By the numbers: 20 years ago, two thirds of American households gave to charity. Today, it's less than half. Meanwhile, households earning more than $1 million per year accounted for 40% of charitable deductions in 2019, up from 10% in 1993.
- Some $25 billion was donated by megadonors in 2021. About 80% of that $25 billion went into private foundations and donor-advised funds where the donors retain full control of how (and even whether) the money is spent.
The bottom line: Charities like to say that "every penny counts." In reality, small-dollar donations have never mattered less. Increasingly, it's a small number of ultra-high net worth individuals, alongside even fewer old money foundations, who determine whether charities thrive or wither away.