Giving and volunteering in the U.S. are thriving but could suffer because of fears about the economy, a survey suggests.
Eighty-nine percent of households donated an average of $1,620 to charity in 2000, or 3.2 percent of household income, says Giving and Volunteering in the United States 2001, a biennial survey by Independent Sector.
And 83.9 million adults, or 44 percent of those over age 21, volunteered roughly 15.5 billion hours, averaging 3.6 hours a week, with 69 percent of them volunteering at least once a month. Forty-six percent of women volunteered, compared to 42 percent of men.
“While attention in recent weeks has focused on the charitable resonse since the terrorist attacks of September 11, this study demonstrates that Americans are generous year-round even in more ordinary times,” says Sara Melendez, president and CEO of Independent Sector, a nonprofit membership and advocacy group.
Adults who volunteered, attended religious service at least once a month or started giving and volunteering before age 18 gave more than those who did not, the survey says.
And Americans were more likely to give, and to give more, if asked.
But 59 percent of adults said they were worried about the economy, with worried households donating $1,201 on average, compared to $2,205 from households that were not worried.
Among the 60 percent of those with Internet access, 13 percent used the Internet to find out about charities. And of those, 12 percent made a donation online.