Roughly one in three U.S. households made a donation in support of disaster relief and recovery efforts in 2017 and 2018, a report from Candid, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy finds.
Based on a survey of more than twelve hundred U.S. households, the report, U.S. Household Disaster Giving in 2017 and 2018 (18 pages, PDF), found that in 2017 and 2018 — years in which the country experienced thirty natural disasters that each caused more than $1 billion in damage — 22 percent of respondents made a disaster-related donation in both years, while 15 percent donated in one year or the other. In 2017, 14 percent of respondents donated to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts, 8 percent donated to Hurricane Maria relief and recovery efforts, and 6 percent donated to Hurricane Irma relief and recovery efforts, while in 2018, 11 percent donated to California wildfire relief and recovery efforts, 9 percent donated to Hurricane Michael relief and recovery efforts, and 8 percent donated to Hurricane Florence relief and recovery efforts.
The survey also found that household giving for disaster relief averaged $80 in 2017 and $83 in 2018, with 53 percent of respondents giving between $100 and $499 in each of the two years; that the top factors in disaster giving were the scale of the disaster and the number of people affected (27 percent), connection to an affected location (23 percent), media coverage (20 percent), and recipient organization's accountability and/or reputation (18 percent); and that households would have given more if someone they knew had been directly affected (46 percent), they could determine the effectiveness or impact of their gift (39 percent), or they had not already had other financial commitments (39 percent). According to the report, about 10 percent of households that made a disaster-related donation in 2017 and 2018 did so through crowdfunding platforms, while 54 percent reported being concerned about the transparency or accountability of disaster-related crowdfunding campaigns.
"In the last two years, we've seen numerous disasters cause devastation in the U.S. and across the globe," said Larry McGill, vice president of knowledge services at Candid. "This report provides key insight into the motivations and decisions of individuals in the U.S. who gave to disaster relief in 2017 and 2018. Looking at data from the survey, we can infer that U.S. households donated roughly $10 billion to disaster aid efforts in both years. This is a significant amount, and we hope this report is a first step to helping donors think more strategically about future disaster-related investments."