Entrepreneurs Donate More to Charity, Study Finds

Entrepreneurs Donate More to Charity, Study Finds

Entrepreneurs donate more to charity on average than non-business owners, a study from Fidelity Charitable finds.

With a focus on the giving habits and priorities of entrepreneurs, the study, Entrepreneurs as Philanthropists (18 pages, PDF), found that 79 percent of entrepreneurs say that charitable giving is a critical part of who they are, while 47 percent said they consider themselves to be a philanthropist. Entrepreneurs also were found to give more than others, with median annual giving among entrepreneurs ($3,577) 50 percent higher than that of non-entrepreneurs ($2,383).

The study also found that entrepreneurs approach giving differently, with nearly six in ten saying their experience as a business owner reflects how they approach their giving. Entrepreneurs tend, for instance, to take a more hands-on approach to their giving, with 61 percent saying they appreciate the ability to be personally involved in a cause or organization and 62 percent saying they value the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in their community through charitable giving, compared to about half of non-business owners. In addition, entrepreneurs spend more time volunteering, with 66 percent saying they volunteer at least three hours every month, compared with 55 percent of other donors.

The study also found that entrepreneurs see a business exit as an opportunity to give back, with three out of ten business owners reporting that they intend to sell or pass the business down to a family member within the next five years, and nearly 68 percent of those saying they plan to donate to charity in conjunction with the transition. Just 14 percent of business owners have no plans in place to give to charity during or after an exit from their business.

"Five hundred and fifty thousand Americans become entrepreneurs every month," said Fidelity Charitable president Pamela Norley. "The sheer size of this group, coupled with an expressed interest in having a positive social impact, means they have a tremendous influence on the philanthropic sector."