Americans expect to give more

Americans says they are more likely in 2011 to increase their charitable giving than to decrease it, marking the first time in four years that donors are more upbeat than downbeat about their giving, a new survey says.

Compared to 2010, 29 percent more households say they plan to give more, 20 percent say they plan to give the same amount, and 48 percent fewer say they will give less, says the annual Dunham+Company New Year’s Philanthropy Survey conducted by Wilson Research Strategies.

Overall, the survey says, 18 percent of people who responded say they plan to increase their giving this year.

Among households earning $50,000 or more a year, one in three plan to give more, the biggest share for any income group.

In households earning $100,000 or more, 77 percent plan to give the same amount as last year, nearly one in five plans to give more, and only five percent plan to give less.

The regions in which the biggest share of people plan to give more are the Northeast and South, with one in five households planning to give more, compared to 16 percent in the West and 14 percent in the Midwest.

One in three minorities say that are likely to increase their giving, compared to only 15 percent of Caucasians.

“After three years of Americans indicating a weakening support for charities, it is very encouraging to see such a significant jump in the number of households that say they plan on increasing their giving to charity, and those saying they would decrease their giving dropping by half,” Rick Dunham, president and CEO of Dunham+Company.

He also says he is concerned about the “potential impact on charities” if Congress ends the charitable tax deduction as part of revising the tax code.

According to the survey, the deduction is important to 48 percent of Americans in deciding how much to give to charity, with the importance of the deduction rising as household income rises.

Sixty-two percent of Americans who make $100,000 or more say the deduction influences their giving.

Among ethnic groups, the deduction is most significant for African Americans, with 57 percent saying it is important to them, compared to nearly half of Hispanics and whites.

The demand for the deduction is consistent throughout the U.S., expect in the West, where 10 percent fewer households indicate it is important to them.

Among age groups, the deduction is most significant to Americans age 45 to 64, the survey says, with 55 percent saying it is important to them.

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