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Americans Donated More in 2014, But 2015 May See Drop

/ Source: CNBC.com

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The U.S. economic rebound last year pushed the stock market up and the jobless rate lower, helping to boost charitable giving in the country to a record $456.7 billion — a jump of more than 9 percent from the year before.

But 2015 may be a tougher year for nonprofits, according to a recent survey. The total pool of donations was boosted by a seasonal year-end surge, according to Atlas of Giving, which tracks charitable giving month by month. Based on a variety of economic and demographic factors, the group is forecasting a 3.2 percent decline in giving this year, to $442.1 billion. It says its team of 25 mathematicians uses dozens of economic algorithms, but doesn't provide specifics on its methodology.

Last year's continued rebound in giving was driven by double-digit stock market gains, while a stronger job market helped boost consumer confidence. In the second half of the year, a plunge in gasoline prices also helped increase giving, the group said.

The stock market's recent correction will likely throw cold water on giving to nonprofits that rely heavily on major gifts or campaign giving, including college endowments, according to the group. The Federal Reserve's expected increase in interest rates will also create a headwind for giving. And the ongoing slowdown in Europe will prompt U.S. corporations to tighten up on charitable gifts, Atlas of Giving predicts.

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