Philanthropy Declines 3.6 Percent in 2009

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A new survey shows charitable giving fell in 2009.

The Giving USA Foundation survey shows that giving dropped by 3.6 percent last year. That's the second worst decline in charitable donations since 1954.

In 1974, giving fell to 5.5 percent, marking that as the worst year for donations in the survey's history.

Americans donated nearly $304 billion last year, making it the third-straight year charitable donations exceeded more than $300 billion.

Experts blame the bad economy, but say the drop could have been even worse.

The survey also showed that giving increased at the very end of 2009, when the stock market rose and the media highlighted the needs of charities.

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