Helped by a robust economy and booming stock market, hospitals and healthcare organizations recorded solid increases in charitable giving last year, according to two new reports.
Giving to charitable health organizations rose 10.4% to $13.9 billion in 1996, outpacing contributions to all other not-for-profit charities, according to Giving USA 1997, the fund-raising profession's annual report on charitable giving.
By contrast, religious and human service charities enjoyed only modest growth in giving. Donations to those sectors rose 4.8% and 4%, respectively.
In total, the nation's charities received $150.7 billion in contributions in 1996, up 7.3% from 1995.
Data from the report were released last week by the AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy, the New York-based research and education arm of the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel.
Giving to health organizations was driven by gifts to charities that focus on specific diseases, not donations to hospitals, said Ann E. Kaplan, the report's editor and the AAFRC's research director.
However, a separate report by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy shows giving to hospitals and other healthcare institutions rose 17% to $5.8 billion in 1996.
That includes cash; pledges; planned gifts; nonmonetary donations such as property, securities and gifts-in-kind; and income from endowments and investments.
Nearly half the increase, about 7.8%, came from interest income, the report said.
The AHP's annual Survey of Giving reflects responses from 295 U.S.-based members of the trade association, based in Falls Church, Va.
Cash gifts as a percentage of total giving rose to 62.4% in 1996 from 53% in 1995. During the same period, the median cash donation received by hospitals and healthcare institutions increased 29.4% to $889,000.
In part, that reflects increased survey participation by university-based hospitals, the AHP said. At a median $10.5 million, university-based hospitals received the highest cash contributions of all surveyed institutions. The rise in cash gifts also reflects a sharp increase in median gifts received by specialty hospitals, up 47.5%; multihospital systems, up 43%; and medical centers, up 32.8%.
Despite a good fund-raising year, pledges and planned gifts dropped to 22% of total giving from 36% in 1995.