A vast majority of donors in a new survey conducted by Fidelity Charitable said charitable giving was at least as important to them, or more, than other financial priorities, but most were unaware of the variety of giving options available.
Only half of donors had used a giving method other than cash, despite having other assets that could be more advantageous to give.
Eighty percent of survey respondents said they owned appreciated assets, but only 21% had ever given those assets to charity.
And although 90% of donors had a life insurance or retirement plan, just 9% had named a charity as a beneficiary of the plan.
W5, an independent research firm, polled 950 charitable donors on Fidelity’s behalf in 2015 and early 2016, asking them how annual gift size, wealth, age and advisor relationships affected awareness and use of nine different charitable giving methods.
Those methods were bequests, donating appreciated assets, family or private foundations, donor-advised funds, naming a charity as the beneficiary of a retirement or life insurance plan, charitable trusts, charitable gift annuity, community foundations and making a qualified charitable distribution from an IRA.
“Our research uncovered remarkably low awareness and use of the full range of tax-advantaged giving methods,” Matt Nash, senior vice president of Donor Engagement at Fidelity Charitable, said in a statement.
“This giving gap may limit potential savings and prevent people from giving more to the deserving charities they support.”
The survey found that retirees donated more to charities than full-time workers, but were less likely to report they were confident about giving at the same level in the future. They were also less likely to use a giving vehicle.
For example, only 39% of retirees used methods such as a distribution from an IRA, compared with 50% of those working full time.
And 23% of retirees used a legacy vehicle, such as a bequest or charitable trust, compared with 28% of employed donors.