American donors gave a lot less to charity in the first two years of the recession than they did in 2007, dropping their donations a total of about 20 percent from 2008 through the end of 2009, new data from the Internal Revenue Service suggest.
The decline is far sharper than experts had expected—and much more substantial than in previous downturns.
The new numbers from the IRS underscore just how big a financial hole nonprofits must climb out of as the still-fragile economy recovers.
In 2008, the IRS says, Americans wrote off $172.9-billion in charitable contributions, a 10.6-percent drop from 2007. Its estimates for 2009, released this month, project a 14-percent drop, to $148.6-billion.
To be sure, the IRS number for 2009 charitable donations is not yet final because the agency is still tallying how much taxpayers itemized on their returns, and its preliminary figures are often under the actual amount by $8-billion or more. Assuming that happens again, the final tally will still show a decline of more than 9 percent in 2009.
To read more go to the Chronicle of Philanthropy at http://philanthropy.com/article/Americans-Gave-a-Lot-Less-in/127244/