This recent report from Fidelity Investments points to some welcome good news for charitable organizations:
Fidelity Charitable Sees Record Grants and Contributions in 2012
BOSTON, January 29, 2013 – Outgoing grants and incoming contributions rose for the third and fourth consecutive year respectively for Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity with a donor-advised fund program, making 2012 a record year for both measures of donor activity. In 2012, donors recommended more than 428,000 grants totaling $1.6 billion and contributed $3.6 billion to Fidelity Charitable for their charitable accounts; both dollar figures represent a 24 percent increase compared to 2011. The number of new charitable accounts opened rose 32 percent compared to 2011.
"Throughout 2012, donors took advantage of the improved stock market and economic conditions to contribute more to their charitable accounts and in turn better support the causes they care about," said Sarah Libbey, president of Fidelity Charitable. "We also saw many donors discover the benefits of using a donor-advised fund for the first time as the uncertain tax environment prompted more discussions about philanthropy between advisors and clients."
In the fourth quarter, which is generally the strongest for grants and contributions, donors recommended more than 172,000 grants totaling $657 million. Donors also contributed $2.4 billion, 66 percent of the annual total, slightly above the 60 percent that the final quarter of the year typically attracts.
Average Grant Size Rises; Enhancements Improve Granting Experience
The more than 428,000 grants to nonprofits made in 2012 represents a 13 percent increase compared to 2011. Donors recommended grants to charities in all 50 states with religion, human services, and education ranking as the top three sectors. The average grant size rose to $3,773 in 2012, a 10 percent increase compared to 2011.