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Americans Who Budget Their Giving Donate More: Vanguard Charitable

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What You Need to Know

  • Only 44% of Americans who gave to charity over the past year include monetary donations in their annual budget.
  • Of those who budget but do not include charitable donations, only 22% said their giving increased.
  • Vanguard Charitable has introduced the NAVi, the Nonprofit Aid Visualizer, in an effort to support donors in their missions.

U.S. residents who actively budget their charitable giving donated an average $2,453 in the past 12 months, compared with $355 by those who do not budget at all, Vanguard Charitable reported Monday.

Only 44% of Americans who donated to charity over the past year include monetary charitable donations in their annual budgets, indicating that not doing so is correlated to less charitable giving by people over the course of the year, compared with those who do budget for charity, the report said.

Among those who donated to charity in the past 12 months, 38% who include charitable donations in their annual budget said they gave more than in the previous 12-month period. 

Of those who budget but do not include charitable donations, only 22% said their giving increased, and 19% of those who give without any annual budget gave more than in the previous 12-month period.

“The charitable giving we’ve seen over the past year has been inspiring in the face of devastating circumstances,” Vanguard Charitable’s president, Rebecca Moffett, said in a statement. 

The Harris Poll conducted an online survey in the U.S. in September among 2,075 adults, among whom 1,490 had donated to charity in the past 12 months.

More on this topic

Giving Motivations

Although donors are united in their mission to make an impact, survey participants reported a variety of motivations for giving:

  • 27%, inspired by a personal experience to donate/make a bigger donation.
  • 24%, inspired by current events or news stories.
  • 22%, followed a set charitable budget they stick to every year.
  • 20%, inspired to make a new donation to a new or different charity.
  • 16%, volunteer for the recipient organization.
  • 15%, because the charity appealed for a larger donation.
  • 14%, compelled by family member or friend to give more.
  • 11%, tax benefit.
  • 14%, other.

The survey found that among participants who said they gave $250 or more in the last year, the top motivator for their donations was determination to adhere to their charitable giving budget. 

Other Key Findings

Following a record granting year in 2020, Americans have remained engaged and active in philanthropy in 2021, according to the survey. Seventy-three percent of respondents said they had given money to charities in the past 12 months. 

Fifty-one percent of survey respondents 18 to 44 years old and 47% of those 55 to 64 have a charitable donation budget, compared with 33% of respondents 45 to 54 and 34% of those 65 and older.

In the past 12 months, 16% of donors surveyed gave more than $1,000 to charities.

Vanguard Charitable said that in an effort to support donors in their missions, it has rolled out the NAVi, the Nonprofit Aid Visualizer, to better connect donors with nonprofits that serve areas of great need or provide relief and services to the causes they care about most.