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6 Surprising Facts about Charitable Giving

October 24, 2013

When it comes to making a donation to charity, there are a million organizations to choose from. As you consider your gift this year, check out these facts about charitable giving:

  1. Total giving to charitable organizations in the U.S. in 2012 was more than $300 billion1. It was the third straight year of increasing donations, but is still below giving levels before the economic downturn.
  2. Not surprisingly, giving spikes during the holidays. In a 2012 GuideStar Survey2 50.5 percent of the organizations surveyed said they receive the majority of their contributions between October and December.
  3. Did you know 22 percent of giving happens in the last two days of the year1?
  4. Charities sometimes need flexibility in how they use donations. Designating money to a specific project is great, but you should also consider giving without conditions, allowing the organization the flexibility to meet changing needs – including just keeping the lights on.
  5. Diversification in charitable giving is not as valuable as concentration. While having variety in your retirement portfolio is valuable, spreading your donations thin could actually keep your favorite charity from making a larger impact.
  6. You can use life insurance to give to charity. Designate your favorite charity as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy3 and you can make a larger gift than otherwise possible. Your local Farm Bureau agent can provide more information and make the process simple.


1Charity Navigator, “Giving Statistics,”,
visited October 24, 2013
2 2012 GuideStar Survey. A survey of public charity and private foundation employees was conducted online from October 4, 2012, until October 19, 2012, the 11th annual nonprofit economic survey conducted by GuideStar.
3 State laws and regulations vary regarding charitable ownership of life insurance on an individual. Consult your Farm Bureau Financial Services agent and State regulations.