One in Five DAF Donors Has Charitable Mission Statement, Survey Finds

A survey of more than a thousand Fidelity Charitable donors finds that while 78 percent of survey respondents have a good sense of which charities they plan to support, only 22 percent have a charitable mission statement or a set of articulated goals for their giving.

According to the report, Giving and Planning (12 pages, PDF), Fidelity donor-advised fund holders who give at least $100,000 a year were more likely to have a mission statement (33 percent) than those who give between $25,000 and $100,000 (24 percent) and those who give less than $25,000 (16 percent). The survey also found that while 39 percent of all respondents had made provisions for a bequest or legacy giving vehicle in their wills, and another 19 percent expected to do so within five years, donor-advised fund holders who give at least $100,000 a year were more likely to have a legacy plan in place (56 percent) than those who give between $25,000 and $100,000 (44 percent) and less than $25,000 (28 percent). In addition, women were more likely than men to have established a charitable legacy plan (47 percent vs. 36 percent) and to have a charitable mission statement or a set of articulated goals (27 percent vs. 19 percent) for their giving.

The report also found that 53 percent of respondents know how much they expect to donate each year; 28 percent have funds in reserve to support unexpected charitable needs such as responding to a natural disaster or a request from a friend; and 29 percent said that having a donor-advised fund helps them plan their giving further in advance. In addition, 22 percent of all respondents — 24 percent of men and 17 percent of women — said they prefer to support endowments, capital campaigns, and/or infrastructure as a way of making a long-term difference, while 36 percent prefer to fund short-term needs.

"Many of our donors plan to expand their commitment to philanthropy within the next five years, with full-time employed donors in their fifties most likely to anticipate increasing the time they spend on philanthropic activities," said Fidelity Charitable president Amy Danforth. "Having a mission statement to guide one's giving can amplify the impact of charitable contributions, as well as boost the confidence donors have in their giving and the satisfaction they get from it. Moreover, charities can work together with these donors to meet long-term goals."

"Giving Without Goals Can Leave Donors Feeling Unfulfilled." Fidelity Charitable Press Release 08/31/2015.