Our research focuses on increasing knowledge about the nonprofit sector and improving the practices of giving, volunteering, fundraising, nonprofit organization management, and other aspects of philanthropic activity.
Browse some of our current research projects below.
- Giving USA
Giving USA is the longest-running, most comprehensive analysis of the sources and uses of U.S. charitable giving. This periodical rigorously estimates donations by individuals, corporations, foundations, and bequests to 1.1 million charities and 220,000 U.S. religious organizations.
- The Philanthropy Outlook
The Philanthropy Outlook 2019 & 2020 projects giving by individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations will grow, and offers potential scenarios, factors to watch.
Explore the findings and download the report
- Philanthropy Panel Study (PPS)
The Philanthropy Panel Study (PPS) is the best and most accurate resource for measuring the U.S. general population’s charitable giving and volunteering. Conducted every two years in partnership with the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research’s Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), this signature panel study has tracked the same families’ giving and volunteering over time, alongside dynamic personal and socioeconomic factors informing philanthropic behavior. Genealogical sampling ensures that adult children starting their own families are also included.
Learn more about the Philanthropy Panel Study
- Human Needs Index
With more than 45 million Americans living in poverty, according to government measures, the Human Needs Index will serve as a powerful tool to track basic human need with different indicators and less lag time than conventional government data.
Learn more about the Human Needs Index Update: September 2018
- Tax Policy and Giving
The 2017 study on Tax Policy and Giving analyzes the effects of proposed tax policy changes on charitable contributions and tax revenue. This study, commissioned by Independent Sector, uses data from the University of Michigan’s Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), including the Philanthropy Panel Study (PPS) created by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and the 2009 IRS Statistics of Income Public Use File (SOI PUF) to examine the effects of increasing the standard deduction, decreasing the top marginal tax rate, and extending the charitable deduction to non-itemizers on charitable giving.
Learn more about the Tax Policy and Giving analysis View the full report
- Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy
The Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy biennually examines the giving patterns, priorities, and attitudes of America’s wealthiest households. The 2018 study is the seventh in a series written and researched in partnership with U.S. Trust. These studies, the first of which was issued in 2006, have set the benchmark for research on the giving practices of high net worth households.
View the 2018 Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy
- Million Dollar List
The Million Dollar List is a record of publicly announced charitable gifts of $1 million or more given by U.S. residents, corporations, private foundations, and other grantmaking nonprofits to domestic or international entities across a range of charitable subsectors since 2000. Updated on an ongoing basis, this searchable online database contains information on donor characteristics, amounts given, donor and recipient locations, specific subsectors to which gifts were given, and additional descriptive information where possible. Interactive charts and maps present graphic representations of key aspects of the data.
- Coutts Million Dollar Donors Report
The Coutts Million Dollar Donors Report analyzes the number, size and recipients of gifts of $1 million or more given by individuals, foundations and corporations in the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Middle East (Gulf Cooperation Council), China, Hong Kong and for the first time, Singapore.
The nature and structure of philanthropy varies greatly by region, and data on giving is more accessible in some regions than others, so the report should not be used to compare giving from region to region, as comparisons would be misleading. The report is intended as a resource for understanding similarities and differences in trends in philanthropy around the globe.
- Women Give
Women Give examines how and why men and women approach philanthropy with different motivations and patterns of giving.
Learn more about Women Give
- Gender & Giving
Gender & giving includes a literature review and series of white papers about new research on gender and philanthropy.
See more Gender and Philanthropy research How and Why Women Give
- Changes to the Giving Landscape
Changes to the Giving Landscape analyzes effects of the 2008 Great Recession on charitable giving across various donor demographic groups and examines differences pre- and post-recession. The study looks at the share of households who gave, the amounts donor households gave, and the percent of income households gave before and after the Great Recession. The report offers key insights for nonprofits and donors as they face new and evolving factors affecting the philanthropic sector in the United States.
View the report »
- Planned Giving
The 2016 Planned Giving Study investigates the characteristics of planned gifts and the likelihood of donors making such gifts to nonprofit organizations at various points over the course of a lifetime. In partnership with Pentera, Inc., this study draws upon unique data on planned gifts and donors from higher education institutions in the U.S. Findings from the study offer insights and implications for fundraising professionals to help donors achieve both their philanthropic aspirations and their financial objectives.
- Giving in Chicago
Giving in Chicago, a report in conjunction with The Chicago Community Trust, is the first comprehensive study of individual, corporate and foundation giving in the six-county metropolitan Chicago region. It examines patterns of charitable giving by households and corporations across the region in 2013, and grant making by foundations and public charities in the region.
- Giving in Puerto Rico
The first study of its kind to examine charitable giving patterns, priorities, and attitudes of Puerto Rican households, Giving in Puerto Rico is the result of a collaboration among Flamboyan Foundation (Flamboyan), Kinesis Foundation and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
- Giving Tuesday
#GivingTuesday is a global movement that engages individuals, businesses, communities, and nonprofits to celebrate and encourage giving. Launched in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation with additional partners, #GivingTuesday annually promotes giving back at the beginning of the holiday season on the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving.
A Giving USA Spotlight entitled #GivingTuesday: A Planned Day of Spontaneous Giving provides initial findings about #GivingTuesday using data provided by Network for Good, an online fundraising platform. In addition, this Spotlight provides an overview of #GivingTuesday, including its history and context in the growing world of social media and online giving. The Spotlight is useful for nonprofit practitioners to gain better insight into #GivingTuesday, including its impact on giving behavior.
- Disaster Philanthropy
The school has collected and tracked extensive data on disaster philanthropy from U.S. individuals, corporations, foundations, and nonprofit organizations to major domestic and overseas disasters since 2001, including the September 11 attacks, the 2004 Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Pakistan earthquake in 2005, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the 2013 Philippine Typhoon Haiyan. All publicly reported gifts of $1 million or more for disaster relief are also recorded in the school’s Million Dollar List.
- National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices (NSCEP)
The National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices is the largest and most comprehensive, nationally representative study of U.S. congregations’ finances in more than a generation. It reveals a detailed picture of the nation’s more than 300,000 congregations providing new insight into how congregations receive, manage and spend money.
Visit the NSCEP site
- The Changing Landscape of U.S. Cross-Border Philanthropy
The Changing Landscape of U.S. Cross-Border Philanthropy explores the changing dynamics of U.S. philanthropy to international causes. The report provides an overview of academic literature on U.S. cross-border philanthropy and international partnership, analyzes current trends on U.S. international giving, and identifies main characteristics of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID/ASHA) grantees and unsuccessful applicants between 2015 and 2017.
View press release
- What WorX
In partnership with the Center for FaithJustice, the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy developed a survey to evaluate CFJ’s programs and to measure their long-term impact on alumni’s engagement in their faith, service, and social justice. This study examined survey results from alumni and parents of alumni of CFJ’s youth programs, which are collectively called the “WorX” programs.
View the full report