Source: Journal of Philanthropy By Maria Di Mento

While 95 percent of the country’s wealthiest households gave to charity last year, the average dollar amount they donated declined by 7 percent compared with 2009, when the last results were available, according to a study to be released this week.

The study, by Bank of America and Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy, also found that:

  • Wealthy people were most likely to make their largest gifts to religious institutions, followed by education groups.
  • More donors have provided support for general operations. Sixty percent of affluent donors said their largest gifts were unrestricted, compared with 55 percent in 2009. And when asked how the economy had changed their giving priorities, 32 percent said they were making more gifts to help charities cover general operations.
  • Donors said they were more likely to give up when groups disappointed them. Twenty percent of donors said they stopped giving to five or more groups last year, compared with 13 percent who said that in 2009. Thirty-two percent said they stopped giving to at least two groups last year, compared with 26 percent in the earlier results.
  • The wealthy expressed the belief that individuals are more capable of solving social problems than any other entity. They ranked nonprofits second, with 30 percent saying they had strong confidence in the ability of nonprofits to meet domestic and global challenges. Ratings for government institutions were strikingly lower, with 75 percent of wealthy people saying they had hardly any confidence in Congress, compared with 9 percent who gave nonprofits such low marks.
  • Fifty percent of the wealthy people surveyed said they would give the same amount they do now even if they could not get a federal tax deduction. Preliminary results of the study released in early October showed that half of the donors said they planned to give as much in the next three to five years as they have in the past, and only 24 percent said they would give more (The Chronicle, October 18.)

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