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Trends That May Influence What Your Clients are Thinking About Charitable Giving

The 2021 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy: Charitable Giving by Affluent Households confirms that wealthy families are as committed as ever to the nonprofit sector and community causes. Of the 1,626 households surveyed with annual income of at least $200,000 or a net worth of at least $1 million (not counting a primary residence), 88% gave to at least one charity in 2020. Between 2017 and 2020, average giving by this demographic grew to $43,195 from $29,269 – a 48% increase.

The motivations and preferences behind wealthy donor giving are also changing. Here’s how: 

  1. For the first time, affluent donors care as much about supporting the issues (44%) as they care about supporting the nonprofit organizations themselves (45%). In the past, most affluent donors have put far more weight on the organization when considering charitable giving options.
  1. The issues are shifting, too. For example, more than 20% of affluent households supported social and racial justice causes, and impact investing nearly doubled, during the period covered by the study. 
  1. Diverse donors and younger donors are beginning to prefer structured giving vehicles, such as Donor Advised Funds, rather than direct giving to operating charities. For more information about structured giving – such as Donor Advised Funds, visit or call 410.280.1102.
  1. Volunteers who are affluent give twice as much as affluent people who don’t volunteer. 
  1. Donors are becoming more vocal about the challenges they face when making charitable giving decisions, notably working to figure out:
    -what causes they care about and where to make donations to support those causes (40%)
    -a charitable giving budget and how much they can afford to give (32%)
    -how to measure the results of their giving to be sure it’s making a difference (24%)

According to the study, what most affluent households are not worried about are potential changes to the income tax rules –78% say their giving levels would stay the same or increase if they could not deduct contributions. 

CFAAC can work with you and your clients to answer questions about giving options, tax benefits of each, and how to achieve their financial and charitable giving goals. Consultations are always free, confidential, and with no obligation. Call 410.280.1102.


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