Giving Tuesday is behind us. We have new insight into how generous Americans were during the unofficial kickoff for the holiday giving season. The picture is mixed at best.

Giving Tuesday

Now 11 years old, the Giving Tuesday holiday was started in 2012 to inspire generosity after several days of binge spending–Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. 

Giving is growing but fewer people are giving–a blessing and a curse for charities.

Americans donated $3.1 billion to charity which represents a 0.6% gain from 2022 according to new data from GivingTuesday. Unfortunately, the number of Americans who participated in Giving Tuesday declined by 10% to roughly 34 million.

Once again, elevated inflation driven by massive, unnecessary federal spending has eaten away at incomes, savings, and economic security for households. 

Now, as households grapple with high costs of living for yet another holiday season, charitable giving could take a backseat to other needs.

Giving Trends

Giving Tuesday’s mixed giving results follow a trend of declining giving overall.  

For only the fourth time in 40 years, charitable giving fell–instead of rising–in 2022 according to the Giving USA report released earlier this year. Total giving fell 3.4% to $499.3 billion in current dollars, a drop of 10.5% when adjusted for inflation. Giving USA is the paramount source of data on national charitable giving.  

Also, fewer people are giving today. As a lead researcher for the report explained, “At the beginning of the 21st century, two thirds of Americans gave. Today, that is down to under 50% for the first time.”

Stock portfolios took a nosedive in 2022 meanwhile inflation hit 9.1%, a 40-year-high. American households had less to give and many turned to charity to meet their most basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and transportation.

Meanwhile, demand for help rose while inflation drove up the costs to deliver goods and services, straining the budgets of charities like food pantries and shelters. 

Bottom Line

Trillions of dollars in federal spending, particularly in 2021, touched off inflation that crested at four-decade highs. Households are still coping with the increases in prices. Unfortunately, charitable giving may be cut back to focus on immediate needs.