March 21, 2011

U.S. Millionaires’ Charitable Giving Fell in 2010: Spectrem Survey

Senior corporate executives are most generous with both money and time

American millionaires gave less to charity in 2010 than they did in 2009, despite their strong philanthropic tendencies, according to a survey released by Spectrem Group on March 8.

The downward shift is part of the mixed and changing world of charitable donations, Spectremsaid in a statement. Overall, giving remained level in 2010 and is expected to rise this year, though the nature of giving continues to evolve.

Millionaires surveyed by Spectrem Group gave an average of $5,080 in 2010, down from $6,392 in 2009. But although the average contribution fell, 96% of millionaires continue to give to charity. More broadly, some two-thirds of all U.S. households give to charity with an average annual contribution of $2,213, Spectrem said in a statement, citing data from Sparxoo, a market research outfit.

More than three-fourths of the millionaires in the Spectrem survey gave $1,000 to $9,999 in 2010, and 16% gave $10,000 to $24,999. Two percent gave $25,000 or more.

The millionaires, who have a net worth of $1 million to $5 million not including their primary residence, gave time as well as money. They donated an average of 137 hours to charity each year, with 29% giving less than 40 hours a year and 30% giving 41 to 50 hours a year.

The survey found that millionaires younger than 55 are most likely to contribute lower amounts of money, while investors over 66 are most likely to give large amounts of time. Thirty percent of investors 66 and older gave 101 or more hours to charity last year. Senior corporate executives are the most charitable, with 57% giving $5,000 or more a year and upward of one-third donating 101 or more hours a year.

Continuing a trend, online giving is expected to account for a greater percentage of donations, Spectrem said, citing a recent report by The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving. Online giving increased 34.5% since last year, with the largest charities reporting a 55.6% increase in online donations. Online donations now make up an average of 7.6% of donations received.

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