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Financial Planning > Charitable Giving > Charitable Giving Deductions

Americans Plan to Boost Donations This Holiday Season

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As the holiday season begins, 49% of charitably inclined Americans in a new survey said they would donate more money this year than they did in 2017.

Classy, an online and mobile fundraising platform for nonprofits, surveyed 1,000 American adults from Nov. 7 to Nov. 16, using the Qualtrics Insight Platform and a panel sourced from Fulcrum by Lucid.

Classy said in a statement that its new survey, which was fielded just after the November midterm elections, was intended to measure end-of-year giving trends against current events.

Higher-income donors in the survey appear highly likely to increase their donations this year. Seventy-four percent from households earning $100,000 to $150,000 and 85% of those earning more than $150,000 said they planned to give more to charity.

Most households earning less than $100,000 planned to give the same amount as last year.

A majority of survey participants said the outcome of the midterms would not affect their plans to donate money on Giving Tuesday — Nov. 27 — or throughout the giving season. Only one-third of consumers said that the election results would influence their plans to give.

However, 44% of Republicans in the poll, compared with 32% of Democrats, said the election outcome would affect their charitable giving this year.

Classy said voting may be connected to generosity and volunteerism, noting that Americans who said they voted in the midterm elections were twice as likely to donate money on Giving Tuesday than nonvoters. Those who said they voted were also twice as likely to volunteer this holiday season when compared with nonvoters.

Recent research showed that investors’ market sentiment diverged along party lines following the midterm elections.

Changes to the tax code will likely not affect giving this year, according to the Classy survey, but awareness of reduced tax benefits could influence donation amounts. Although only 10% of respondents said a tax write-off was their main reason for giving, 42% said they would definitely or probably donate less if they knew they were getting less of a tax incentive.

Gen X respondents were the most tax-break motivated, with 62% saying a smaller tax break would prompt them to give less, compared with 42% of millennials, 10% of baby boomers and 6% of older Americans.

In addition, 59% of men said a lower tax break would result in their donating less to charity, compared with 22% of women.

The tax overhaul enacted in 2017 doubles the standard deduction, which is expected to cause a dramatic decrease in the number of taxpayers who itemize deductions. A bill introduced in the house, the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act, would make the charitable-giving deduction available to taxpayers whether or not they itemize.

In a year marked by increasing partisan discord, 49% of those surveyed said they believed Americans were becoming more generous in their support of causes, while 21% said they were becoming less generous.

Male respondents were much more optimistic, with 63% of men believing Americans are increasingly generous vs. 35% of women.

Disaster Relief

Classy’s new survey was the second of a two-part study. The first part, based on findings from a poll conducted in September, looked at issues such as top motivators for charitable giving.

In a year when devastating fires and hurricanes impacted millions of Americans, 48% of donors in the earlier survey said disaster relief was the cause needing the most support this Giving Tuesday, followed by 37% who cited health issues and 36% environmental causes and/or animal issues.

In the more recent survey, 54% of respondents reported that they had already donated or planned to donate to Hurricane Michael and/or Florence domestic relief efforts, and 49% said they had or would donate to efforts around international disasters this year.

Other recent tragedies and events were top of mind as well. Forty-four percent of respondents said that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting had made them more likely to donate to charity by year-end, and 37% cited immigration issues as a motivator for their year-end donations.


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