More Than Half of Americans Made a Donation in Past Year, Study Finds

More Than Half of Americans Made a Donation in Past Year, Study Finds

More than half (55 percent) of Americans made a monetary donation to a charity, gave to a religious organization, and/or sponsored someone in the past twelve months, a report from the Charities Aid Foundation finds.

Based on a survey conducted in July, the report, Charitable Giving in the USA 2017 (13 pages, PDF), found that 47 percent of survey respondents had given money to a nonprofit, 37 percent had given to a religious organization, and 33 percent had given directly to a person in need at some point during the past twelve months, while 23 percent had sponsored someone for a charity fundraising event. Another 33 percent reported that they had donated food or goods to a charity or religious organization, 24 percent said they had volunteered for a religious organization, and 23 percent said they had volunteered for a nonprofit, while 32 percent said they had neither donated money nor volunteered. Survey respondents age 55 and older (70 percent) and those with household incomes of at least $80,000 (78 percent) were the most likely to have given or donated.

The survey also found that 37 percent of respondents said they had given in support of religious organizations, followed by giving to help the poor (32 percent) or children in need (27 percent). Older Americans were more likely to give in support of medical institutions (12 percent vs. 8 percent overall), while those between the ages of 25 and 34 were more likely to give to programs for disabled people (24 percent vs. 15 percent). According to the report, among those who had given in the past year, the overall median amount was about $100, while the median for those with household incomes of less than $40,000 was $50.

In terms of their reasons for giving, "I care about the cause" was the most commonly cited (58 percent), followed by "I want to help people less fortunate than me" (41 percent), "I trust the organizations I donate to" (39 percent), "It makes me feel good," and "I realize I can make a difference" (both 38 percent).

"Charitable Giving in the USA 2017." Charities Aid Foundation Report 12/04/2017.