Economic Effects on Million Dollar Giving
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This study investigates the impact of economic factors on the number of charitable gifts of one million dollars or more within the United States using the Million Dollar List dataset. We investigate key donor groups: individuals, corporations, and foundations. Results indicate that individual donors are particularly responsive to underlying economic conditions; giving by foundations tends to be counter-cyclical, and corporate giving is not significantly associated with macroeconomic factors. We also find that economic conditions vary in their influence on giving to subsectors, and gifts to public benefit and human services organizations increase significantly during periods of recession. Findings from our study have direct implications for philanthropists, fundraisers, and policy makes as they seek to understand how economic conditions impact large gifts.