Issue 29: 2015

Philanthropy

Volunteerism and Donations on the Rise

The 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy reveals that giving among the wealthy and very wealthy is on the rise, with a clear focus on education.

Photograph by Eric McNatt

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Among wealthy households, the average amount given to charity increased by more than a quarter (28%) from 2011 to 2013. This is just one of the many intriguing findings of the 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy. The study, the fifth in a series of biennial studies carried out in an ongoing partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, reveals a strong commitment to charitable causes among the wealthy.

More give, and give more

In 2013 virtually all (98.4%) high-net-worth households donated to charity, as compared with 95.4% in 2011. This marks the highest rate of high-net-worth participation in charitable giving since the study began in 2006. This high rate of giving compares with 65% of the U.S. general population who donate to charity.1

The average dollar amount given to charity by wealthy donors increased 28%, from $53,519 in 2011 to $68,580 in 2013. And, more donors (36% in 2013 compared with 24% in 2011) say they plan to give more in the near future. Average giving as a percentage of household income decreased by 1%, as increases in income outpaced increases in giving.

This new study, more than ever, tells us that when wealthy donors are intentional about and engaged in their giving — when they actively seek that meaningful intersection of their ideas and ideals — they are more generous, impactful and fulfilled.

Volunteers give more time

Volunteerism among high-net-worth individuals remained strong in 2013,with 75% of respondents reporting they volunteer with at least one nonprofit organization. Among those who volunteered, 59% volunteered more than 100 hours in 2013 and 34% volunteered more than 200 hours.


Alan Shortall/Getty Images

The study found a strong correlation between volunteerism and giving amounts — wealthy donors who volunteered in 2013 gave 73% more on average than those who did not volunteer ($76,572 compared with $44,137).

Education sector captures hearts and wallets

In 2013, 85% of wealthy donors gave to educational causes — making it the charitable subsector supported by the largest percentage of high-net-worth households. A closer look reveals that 73% gave to higher education and 60% gave to K-12 education.

Education also received the largest share of dollars (27%) among all charitable subsectors — more than that given to causes that benefit religions, the environment, the arts, basic needs and international causes combined.

Why the wealthy give

In 2013, wealthy households cited that their top motivations for giving were: believing that their gift can make a difference (74%), receiving personal satisfaction (73%), supporting the same causes annually (66%), giving back to the community (63%),and serving on a nonprofit organization’s board or volunteering for a nonprofit (62%). Only one-third (34%) of donors cited tax advantages among their chief motivators for giving.

Donors give strategically

The majority of wealthy donors (73%) guide their charitable giving with a specific strategy. Notably, 93% of donors gave to a targeted set of organizations based on geography or a specific cause or issue. And more than half (57%) of wealthy donors used a giving vehicle (such as a foundation, a trust or an advised fund) in 2013, or plan to establish one to help pursue their charitable goals.

Family traditions and preparing the next generation

When it comes to decision-making, 61% of respondents who are married or live with a partner reported that they make decisions about their giving jointly with their spouse or partner. Among heterosexual married or partnered households, women are three times more likely than men to be the sole decision-makers.

Many wealthy families have giving traditions (41%), such as volunteering as a family. Among those who volunteer (75%), respondents were far more likely to do so with family (68%) or friends (68%) than they were to do so through a workplace campaign (25%) or some other group (49%). With regard to handing down philanthropic values, the study found that the leading sources by which the next generation learns about giving are from a family’s personal efforts and those of their friends and peers (55%), followed by religious organizations (44%) and nonprofits (24%).

Societal issues

Consistent with their top giving priority, more than half (56%) of wealthy donors also prioritize education among policy issues most important to them — followed by poverty (35%), healthcare (34%) and the environment (28%).

To learn more

View a detailed summary of key findings from the 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy at ustrust.com/philanthropy.

1The Center on Philanthropy Panel Study, Indiana University, 2009. (Latest data available.)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax or estate planning strategy.

Among wealthy households, the average amount given to charity increased by more than a quarter (28%) from 2011 to 2013. This is just one of the many intriguing findings of the 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy. The study, the fifth in a series of biennial studies carried out in an ongoing partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, reveals a strong commitment to charitable causes among the wealthy.

More give, and give more

In 2013 virtually all (98.4%) high-net-worth households donated to charity, as compared with 95.4% in 2011. This marks the highest rate of high-net-worth participation in charitable giving since the study began in 2006. This high rate of giving compares with 65% of the U.S. general population who donate to charity.1

The average dollar amount given to charity by wealthy donors increased 28%, from $53,519 in 2011 to $68,580 in 2013. And, more donors (36% in 2013 compared with 24% in 2011) say they plan to give more in the near future. Average giving as a percentage of household income decreased by 1%, as increases in income outpaced increases in giving.

This new study, more than ever, tells us that when wealthy donors are intentional about and engaged in their giving — when they actively seek that meaningful intersection of their ideas and ideals — they are more generous, impactful and fulfilled.

Volunteers give more time

Volunteerism among high-net-worth individuals remained strong in 2013,with 75% of respondents reporting they volunteer with at least one nonprofit organization. Among those who volunteered, 59% volunteered more than 100 hours in 2013 and 34% volunteered more than 200 hours.


Alan Shortall/Getty Images

The study found a strong correlation between volunteerism and giving amounts — wealthy donors who volunteered in 2013 gave 73% more on average than those who did not volunteer ($76,572 compared with $44,137).

Education sector captures hearts and wallets

In 2013, 85% of wealthy donors gave to educational causes — making it the charitable subsector supported by the largest percentage of high-net-worth households. A closer look reveals that 73% gave to higher education and 60% gave to K-12 education.

Education also received the largest share of dollars (27%) among all charitable subsectors — more than that given to causes that benefit religions, the environment, the arts, basic needs and international causes combined.

Why the wealthy give

In 2013, wealthy households cited that their top motivations for giving were: believing that their gift can make a difference (74%), receiving personal satisfaction (73%), supporting the same causes annually (66%), giving back to the community (63%),and serving on a nonprofit organization’s board or volunteering for a nonprofit (62%). Only one-third (34%) of donors cited tax advantages among their chief motivators for giving.

Donors give strategically

The majority of wealthy donors (73%) guide their charitable giving with a specific strategy. Notably, 93% of donors gave to a targeted set of organizations based on geography or a specific cause or issue. And more than half (57%) of wealthy donors used a giving vehicle (such as a foundation, a trust or an advised fund) in 2013, or plan to establish one to help pursue their charitable goals.

Family traditions and preparing the next generation

When it comes to decision-making, 61% of respondents who are married or live with a partner reported that they make decisions about their giving jointly with their spouse or partner. Among heterosexual married or partnered households, women are three times more likely than men to be the sole decision-makers.

Many wealthy families have giving traditions (41%), such as volunteering as a family. Among those who volunteer (75%), respondents were far more likely to do so with family (68%) or friends (68%) than they were to do so through a workplace campaign (25%) or some other group (49%). With regard to handing down philanthropic values, the study found that the leading sources by which the next generation learns about giving are from a family’s personal efforts and those of their friends and peers (55%), followed by religious organizations (44%) and nonprofits (24%).

Societal issues

Consistent with their top giving priority, more than half (56%) of wealthy donors also prioritize education among policy issues most important to them — followed by poverty (35%), healthcare (34%) and the environment (28%).

To learn more

View a detailed summary of key findings from the 2014 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy at ustrust.com/philanthropy.

1The Center on Philanthropy Panel Study, Indiana University, 2009. (Latest data available.)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax or estate planning strategy.