Close Close

Financial Planning > Charitable Giving

Most Americans Would Prefer Charity Donation Over Holiday Gift: Survey

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

What You Need to Know

  • A new study found that 59% of Americans would rather receive a donation to charity in their name than a gift.
  • Only 55% of respondents who gave more than $1,000 to charity were aware that stocks could be donated to charity.
  • Charitable giving is a top topic those working with financial advisors hope to discuss at year-end.

Supply-chain shortages this year are likely to leave many holiday shoppers disappointed. Are there any “perfect gift” alternatives that don’t depend on stocked store shelves or online warehouse supplies?

Fidelity Charitable, a donor-advised-fund sponsor, says yes. A new study found that 59% of Americans would rather receive a donation to charity in their name than a gift for themselves this year.

Artemis Strategy Group conducted the study on behalf of Fidelity Charitable in October and November among 510 adults in the U.S. A second sample examined year-end giving among 1,019 “charitable investors” — those who have a minimum of $25,000 in investable assets and gave $1,000 or more to charity in 2020.

Other Study Findings

Some 90% of study respondents who give $1,000 or more say they will donate the same or more this year, compared with 2020. However, many are unaware or are not taking advantage of tax-smart giving methods, according to Fidelity Charitable. 

For example, while stock market returns are up significantly this year, only 55% of respondents knew about the tax-efficient method of donating stock to charity.

Nearly two-thirds who give plan to take advantage of the temporary provision for “above-the-line” tax deductions on some cash donations created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“At such a busy time, it’s easy to put off year-end charitable decisions, but there are advantages to acting early,” Kristen Robinson, chief operating officer at Fidelity Charitable, said in a statement. “You can maximize your ability to support your favorite causes and your 2021 tax benefits using smart giving strategies.” 

More on this topic

Robinson added that it will be particularly meaningful to integrate charitable activity into holiday traditions this year “after another challenging year that has reinforced the importance of supporting our communities and each other.”

The study asked respondents what charitable activities they are planning for the end of the year. 

Fifty-three percent of those participating in philanthropic activities said they will give to charity, 46% will donate goods to charity, 27% will donate money/goods directly to individuals in need and 25% will perform random acts of kindness.

Among individuals who donated at least $1,000 last year and have at least $25,000 in investable assets, charitable giving is one of the top two topics those working with a financial advisor hope to discuss at year-end.

Fifty-eight percent of study participants reported that they had experienced a significant financial event in 2021, including market gains, bonuses and required retirement account distributions. Half of these said they expect to owe more in taxes this year as a result. 

Yet despite their heightened interest in giving, many are not taking advantage of giving strategies that could help them give more while reducing taxes. For example, only 18% have donated appreciated assets, such as publicly traded stock.