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Financial Planning > Charitable Giving

Most Affluent Investors Give Less Than $2,500 a Year to Charity: Survey

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Two-thirds of affluent U.S. investors typically donate less than $2,500 in cash each year to one or more charitable groups, according to survey results released Monday by Phoenix Marketing International.

Annual cash donations increase among higher-income households, though not exponentially, Phoenix said. Researchers found that one-third of U.S. households with annual income above $150,000 donate at least $5,000 annually, while one in six donate more than $10,000.

Phoenix polled 2,100 affluent individual investors with upward of $100,000 in investable assets, exclusive of 401(k) or similar plans, in March. The firm conducts monthly surveys of investors about their impression and consideration of various financial services brands.

Respondents in the March survey cited several reasons for their charitable giving. “Affluent investors are certainly altruistic, as the most frequent reasons given for making cash donations were to help other people in need and because they believe in an organization’s mission,” Cait Robbins, the Phoenix analyst responsible for the monthly U.S. study, said in a statement.

She said other reasons respondents mentioned were “support of a good cause, to fulfill a religious obligation or simply because it is the right thing to do.”

The survey also pointed up criteria respondents used to decide whether they would make a cash donation to a specific charitable organization.

About one in four donors said they expected transparency with how their money would be used, specifically information on the relative share of their donation that would be allocated to beneficiaries versus the organization’s administration. In addition, they wanted to know what services a charity provided and for whom.

“Overall, a connection must exist between the organization and affluent investor such that the mission is perceived as important by the donor, that they in turn believe in the organization, and investors see their cash going to a worthy and legitimate cause,” Robbins said.


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