Average giving amounts by wealthy households increased 15 percent during 2017 compared to two years ago, eclipsing an average $29,000. That’s the plan, even if impact is somewhat fuzzy.
And, nine out of 10 wealthy households gave to charity, according to the 2018 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth (HNW) Philanthropy released yesterday. The biennial survey is conducted in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and this year’s edition is the seventh in a research series that began in 2006.
The vast majority of wealthy households expect to maintain (84 percent) or increase (4 percent) the amount they give to charity in 2018 under the new federal tax law passed late in 2017.
One-quarter of HNW donors gave to disaster relief efforts in 2017, motivated by “media coverage of the devastation and lack of confidence in government relief efforts,” according to the report’s authors. Hurricanes walloped Puerto Rico and Houston, Texas region and wildfires blazed across California last year.
Charitable giving (39 percent) and volunteering (32 percent) clearly ranked highest among seven choices for the potential to have the greatest impact. Next highest was voting for a political candidate who shares their ideals (16 percent). Yet, 54 percent said they do not know if their giving has the intended impact.
Tax benefits remain among the lowest priorities for giving by wealthy donors, at 17 percent, compared with 18 percent two years ago. More than half (54 percent) said they always gave because of their belief in an organization and 42 percent because of their belief that their gift can make a difference. One-third said they always give to support the same causes year after year and almost as many give to experience personal satisfaction, enjoyment or fulfillment.