Will inflation dampen charitable giving this holiday season? – Inside Indiana Business

Una Osili is Chair of Philanthropy at IUPUI’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

We’re less than a week away from Giving Tuesday, when charities try to raise additional funds during the holiday season. Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, says the current uncertainty surrounding the economy could dampen charitable giving, but “unprecedented needs” in communities across the country have expanded charitable commitments.

“Households give when they have the financial means to do so, but also when there are opportunities to give and when asked to do so,” Osili said.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Osili said there are several factors at play in terms of charitable giving through the end of 2022.

“Certainly, concerns about an economic slowdown have created more uncertainty as consumers make these decisions about their spending and also about their savings decisions. They keep that slowdown in mind,” Osili said. “However, we also know that there has been unprecedented need surrounding the COVID pandemic, concerns about global racial and social justice movements, but also the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and in many parts of the world have many American households and prompting donors around the world to expand their commitments and increase their generosity.”

Osili says generosity is a “core value” for Americans of all backgrounds. She says that during an economic downturn, many more households need services, meaning there are many households with fewer resources to help those in need.

“However, we have seen during downturns that Americans tend to prioritize giving for basic needs. So these are donations to organizations that help people in economic need including groups like the Salvation Army, United Way, local organizations, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and so on. I think that’s something that can encourage all of us during the season, that households prioritize supporting their neighbors in need during downturns, even though they may be struggling with some difficulties themselves.”

Osili says charitable donations across the board have not kept pace with inflation in recent years. She says households are becoming more strategic with their budgets when giving.

“Understanding that your dollars can make a difference in your community, and then sitting together as a family to prioritize causes and organizations … making those decisions and then allocating those dollars to align with those priorities.” I think that’s how a lot of Americans handle giving this holiday season.”