News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research
Letter from the Director
According to The Forbes 400 list, nearly all of the wealthiest Americans are richer than they were a year ago, as their “collective fortune increased 40 percent over the last year, to $4.5 trillion.” Forbes ranked the generosity of these wealthy individuals and found that their philanthropic giving did not increase in comparison to their fortunes. The data indicates that “the number of Forbes 400 members who gave away more than 20 percent of their net worth dropped from 10 to eight, while those who gave away less than 1 percent of their wealth rose from 127 to 156.”
We’d like to point out some key findings from another recent report, “2021 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy: Charitable Giving by Affluent Households
.” This study is based on a random sample of 1,626 households that have a net worth of $1 million or more (which excludes the value of a primary home) and or/an annual household income of $200,000 or more. Though we see a decline in philanthropic giving by the country’s wealthiest, this study on affluent households may provide a better picture for fundraisers about wealthy households in the U.S. It’s encouraging to learn that affluent families continued to contribute to charities in 2020, just as they had in previous years. Not only did these affluent families continue to give, but their giving amounts also increased.
Outlined below are some of the key findings from this report:
- Affluent households remained generous and consistent in their giving.
- The average amount given to charity increased since 2017.
- The top three types of charities supported were basic needs, religion, and education.
- The highest average gift amounts were given to religion, basic needs, and education.
- Sustainable and impact investing participation nearly doubled compared to 2017.
- More affluent donors used giving vehicles than in 2017.
- Affluent individuals expressed confidence in the ability of businesses, governments, nonprofits and individuals to solve societal problems.
As noted above, education is among the top three types of charities supported by these affluent households. Education received 74 percent of unrestricted gifts from these households. Though we cannot predict their future giving, 74 percent of affluent households surveyed do not expect to change their long-term philanthropic behaviors. 20 percent of these households expect their charitable giving to be more directed to specific issues and 5 percent do not intend to give restrictive gifts.
The results from another study completed by Fidelity Charitable
, explores the effect of COVID-19 on the giving behavior of individuals who donated at least $1,000 to charity in 2020. It determines that “9 in 10 donors plan to give the same or more in 2021 than they did in 2020.” During the past year, donors embraced new channels and methods for giving and they continue to do so in 2021. There has been an increase in the number of individuals that volunteered virtually in 2020, where one-third of donors say they plan to participate in virtual volunteer activities moving forward. This shows a new shift in how individuals want to engage with organizations in post-pandemic times.
Let’s hope that higher education continues to attract generous contributors who will bring a positive impact to the industry in the near future. As always, feel free to reach out us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team