Donors upbeat on end-of-year giving

PJ staff report

Most Americans plan to give as much or more to charity in the final three months of the year, compared to the same period in previous years a new survey says.

Fifty-five percent of 603 adults surveyed by Opinion Research Firm on behalf of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund plan to maintain their level of charitable giving in the fourth quarter, and eight percent plan to give more than in past years because the need for help is greater.

Still, 30 percent are giving less as a result of financial limitations and six percent are giving less because of the uncertain tax climate, with 88 percent of those giving less saying they still make it a priority to give.

“Priorities and pocketbooks are stretched, while the call for charitable giving is greater than ever,” Sarah C. Libbey, president of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, says in a statement. “Yet, it is clear that Americans are deeply committed to giving – whether money or time – to the causes they care about, and that this commitment endures through both good and challenging times.”

Among Americans who indicate they are giving less this year,, nearly half expect to give less to all their causes, and nearly half expect to set priorities for their giving, reducing or eliminating donations to some causes.

And two-thirds of donors who are giving are thinking about making donations other than cash, with nearly 60 percent planning to give their time and skills, and 21 percent planning to give other assets such as cars or antiques.

Two-thirds of donors, and 81 percent among households with $100,000 or more in annual income, indicate all or most of their charitable giving for this year was planned ahead of time.

Nearly one-fourth of Americans who said they gave “reactively” in the wake of natural disasters reported those events changed their giving from years past.

And 31 percent of all donors, and 42 percent of households with over $100,000 in income, said receiving a tax deduction was a significant influence on their giving.

Over 88 percent reported they would not change their giving behaviors based on the possibility of tax increases next year.

The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund says its donors recommended over 212,000 grants totaling over $741 million to nonprofits in the first nine months of 2010, up 22 percent and 13 percent, respectively from the same period last year.

Incoming charitable contributions in the first nine months of the year grew 54 percent to $610 million.

Contributions to the Gift Fund in the form of appreciated securities represented 51 percent of total contributions in the first nine months, up from 39 percent last year.

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