Recent Research & Studies

We've compiled recent studies on the nonprofit sector from both state and national perspectives to provide data-driven insight to your work. If you have research you would like to feature on our site, please contact us!

Charitable Giving

Nonprofit Trends and Impacts 2021: National Findings on Donation Trends from 2015 through 2020, Diversity and Representation, and First-Year Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic
This report complements studies on donation trends conducted from individual donor and sector-wide perspectives by focusing on the experiences of nonprofits, donations that they rely on, the contexts and contours of their programs, and the US communities they serve.

Perspectives from Main Street: The impact of COVID-19 on communities and the entities serving them
This survey provides an insightful and informative snapshot of how COVID-19 was affecting people and organizations on the dates the survey was administered.

Giving USA: Total U.S. charitable giving remained strong in 2021, reaching $484.85 billion (Lilly Family School of Philanthropy)
Article showing total charitable giving in 2021 grew 4.0% over the revised total of $466.23 billion contributed in 2020. *Purchase required for Giving USA 2022 Annual Report

Giving USA 2021: In a year of unprecedented events and challenges, charitable giving reached a record $471.44 billion in 2020
Article showing total charitable giving grew 5.1% measured in current dollars over the revised total of $448.66 billion contributed in 2019. *Purchase required for Giving USA 2021 Annual Report

Philanthropy and Volunteering (Understanding Houston)
The more we understand how Houstonians improve their communities through the nonprofit sector, we can work to create a region where everyone gives back.

Philanthropy and COVID-19, Measuring one year of giving (Candid and Center for Disaster Philanthropy)
In August 2020, Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) looked at the philanthropic dollars that were distributed for COVID-19 in the first half of 2020.

Is Houston still one of the most generous cities in the US? (The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University)
The “Most Generous U.S. Cities” ranking from LawnStarter compared the 150 biggest U.S. cities across 12 indicators of philanthropic behavior, including volunteering rates, the prevalence of food banks, soup kitchens, nonprofit organizations, animal shelters and more.

People in These North Texas Counties Are Among the Most Generous in the State, New Study Says
Rockwall, Collin, and Denton county residents were among the most giving to charities last year, according to a new study released by SmartAsset that ranks the counties as the No. 2, 3, and 4 most generous in the state.

Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund (A collaborative effort of United Way of Greater Houston & Greater Houston Community Foundation)
As of February 2021, the Fund has raised and invested $18.4 million in 87 local organizations that have served more than 209,802 individuals living in 100,578 households in need through eight rounds of grants.

AFP Global’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP)
AFP’s growth-in-giving (GiG) report is a fundraising tool developed by the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) with AFP’s Donor Software Workgroup. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project seeks to help nonprofit organizations measure and compare their annual growth in giving by gain/loss categories.

Eight Myths of US Philanthropy
By examining the eight common myths of philanthropy—including who gives, how, and with what impact—we can better comprehend the breadth and diversity of giving.


Social Connectedness and Generosity: A Look at How Associational Life and Social Connections Influence Volunteering and Giving (and Vice Versa)
This report provides data to demonstrate that people who volunteered were more likely to give, and people who gave were more likely to volunteer. Of interest in this election year, volunteering increases voter turnout probability by 12 percentage points, while giving increases voter turnout probability by 10.1 percentage points.

The Role of Volunteering in Philanthropy
This report illustrates how donors support charitable causes with both their time and money—and how the COVID-19 crisis has sharply impacted how volunteers are able to serve.

Civic Life Today – A look at American civic engagement amid a global pandemic
In Spring 2020, Points of Light commissioned a unique research study to understand the current state of American civic engagement – in all its facets – and explore the path forward for catalyzing deeper and broader civic participation.

2021 report on global trends in volunteer coordination practices
The survey questionnaire was developed with input from two practitioners and a scholar. A total of 1,666 volunteer administrators (paid & volunteer) from 22 countries responded.

New Report: Service Unites Americans; Texans Give Service Worth $12.7 Billion
This year’s report found that 62.6 million adults (24.9 percent) volunteered through an organization last year. 

Volunteering in America – States (
A snapshot of volunteering data per state.

Key Findings from the 2019 Current Population Survey: Civic Engagement and Volunteering Supplement AmeriCorps Research and Evaluation December 2021
The most recent wave of CPS CEV data collected in September 2021 offers unique opportunities to examine the impacts of COVID-19 and policy interventions on America’s civic health.

Value of Volunteer Time (Independent Sector)
The current estimated national value of each volunteer hour Is $29.95.

Volunteering provides greater health benefits to low-income volunteers than more wealthy counterparts (Texas State University)
New research conducted in part at Texas State University indicates that health benefits derived from volunteer work are greater for lower-income volunteers than for wealthier ones.

Civic Engagement & The Civic Circle – Literature Review January 2022 (Points of Light)
To better understand civic engagement and how to motivate individuals and communities to become more engaged, Points of Light commissioned Data Shine, an independent evaluation consulting firm, to conduct a literature review.

Volunteers (National Council of Nonprofits)
A snapshot of volunteer resources, data, and tools for managing volunteers.