Americans proved once again that they believe giving is better than receiving.
Donors are projected to give more than $450 billion to charity by the end of the year, a 9 percent increase from the record set in 2013, according to a new Atlas of Giving report. The group -- which forecasts charitable giving -- attributed the notable spike to a number of factors, including a continuing bull stock market, low interest rates, improving employment and a lack of inflation.
The figures were based on giving data collected through the end of November, which was combined with projections for December.
Human services organizations, educational institutions and environmental causes saw the biggest gains. Each of those categories experienced double-digit growth in gift revenue. Religion remained the largest revenue category, but was expected to drop a point to 33 percent of total giving.
Individuals gave 74 percent of all donation dollars and demonstrated their willingness to put charity before their own wants.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, for example, Americans seemed more eager to give back than to hunt for deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The number of customers who shopped and the amount of money spent dropped year-over-year during the four-day period, according to the National Retail Federation.
However, on Giving Tuesday -- the charitable daylong event that follows Cyber Monday -- donors came out in droves. They gave $45.7 million, a 63 percent increase from the year before.
But foundations are currently the fastest growing source of gifts, a fact experts urge nonprofits to keep in mind.
"Going into 2015, charities would be well-advised to beef up efforts to pursue foundation grants," Rob Mitchell, CEO of the Atlas of Giving, said in a statement. "Foundation grants, along with distributions from increasingly popular donor-advised funds, will represent strong opportunities for nonprofits in the months ahead."