Voluntary Giving by the American People
Present Multiplicity of Fund-Raising Campaigns
The American people voluntarily contribute billions of dollars to charity each year, notwithstanding heavy taxation for relief and other welfare activities which, as recently as the 1920s, received their sole support from private sources, A major part of the present-day giving is to large charitable organizations whose operations, at the management level, resemble those of the big business corporation.
A board of directors, a professional planning staff, and high-pressure promotion are necessary parts of modern philanthropic endeavor. The returns, which have trebled over the last two decades, give testimony to the effectiveness of current fund-raising techniques. In recent years, contributions to charity have represented about two per cent of the country's total personal income. If that rate has been maintained during the present year, charitable donations should aggregate a record-breaking total of more than $5 billion.
Multiplicity of Fund-Raising Campaigns
Recent years have seen a marked increase in the number of charity organizations asking voluntary contributions from the public. No fewer than 33,000 are registered as philanthropic organizations for tax-exemption purposes and at least 600 national organizations make annual appeals to the citizenry for financial support. In addition, there are thousands of local agencies which may or may not participate in community chest campaigns. New York City alone has 1,100 fund-raising charities. Most organizations tend to increase their goals from year to year, as costs of welfare services go up, new needs develop, and planners extend the scope of their programs.