[Infographic] Charitable Giving in the U.S. vs the UK
April 05, 2014
"The UK should not aspire to a U.S. model of philanthropy and tax incentives -- it is not replicable and is a unique product of social, political and historical factors," a report released by the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation back in February argues.
The report, Give Me a Break (20 pages, PDF), argues that while there are things the UK can learn from the U.S. model of philanthropy, there are features of it that the UK, which has a well-organized welfare state, cannot and should not replicate. "For instance," the report notes, "the U.S. charitable deduction is inherently biased toward those [with] higher incomes....Similarly, donations in the U.S. go disproprtionately to religious causes and education (45 percent in total)."
A few other interesting facts from the report that are included in the infographic below:
- The oldest surviving charity in the U.S. is the Scots' Charitable Society of Boston, which was founded in 1657 and incorporated in 1786; the oldest in the UK is the King's School, Canterbury, founded in 597.
- The average deduction claimed for donations of clothes in the U.S. in 2004 was $1,400.
- 2.6 percent of the UK workforce is employed by the voluntary sector, while the nonprofit sector accounts for 9.2 percent of wages and salaries in the U.S.
- Evidence from the U.S. suggests that donations go up as tax rates rise.
Do you agree with the suggestion that the U.S. model of philanthropy is "inherently biased toward the wealthy"? Do you think the value of the charitable deduction in the U.S. should be lowered, capped, or eliminated? Does the current system in the U.S. do as much as it should to incentivize giving for the needy and more vulnerable members of society? Share your thoughts in the comments section....