Concerns Over Finances, Impact Are Barriers to Giving, Survey Finds

Concerns Over Finances, Impact Are Barriers to Giving, Survey Finds

A majority of Fidelity Charitable donor-advised fund holders would like to give more to charity but cite financial circumstances and/or concerns about the impact of their giving as barriers to doing so, a report from Fidelity Charitable finds.

Based on a survey of thirty-two hundred Fidelity Charitable donors, the report, Overcoming Barriers to Giving (16 pages, PDF), found that 46 percent of respondents based their decision of how much to give on their financial circumstance, while 27 percent based it on a combination of  finances and the needs of their favorite charities. And while 64 percent of respondents said they wished they could give more, 75 percent had at least one concern about their giving — including wanting to be able to take a larger tax deduction (47 percent), being torn between giving and saving for personal needs (42 percent), and not knowing how much to give or whom to ask for advice (21 percent). According to the survey, 72 percent said they would give more if either their financial situation or tax policy were to change.

The survey also found that 81 percent of respondents had at least one concern about the impact of their giving — including uneasiness over being unable to determine a charity’s credibility or trustworthiness (67 percent), concern that their donation or gift would not be put to good use (48 percent), and frustration when a charity failed to indicate how donations were used (48 percent). Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) said that having greater insight into the impact of their giving would influence them to give more.

"Of course, every household will have a limit on what they can give — however, we believe that there are many ways that people can create 'found money' for giving in their budgets," said Matt Nash, senior vice president of donor engagement at Fidelity Charitable. "If people simply took advantage of the full tax benefits of giving or established automated, reoccurring gifts, for example, we think a donor would get closer to reaching their giving goals."