Money & Business

Report: More People Gave or Volunteered in 2018

By / Mar 22, 2019 (marchmeena29/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

A new report from CAF America credited a strong economy for helping to improve numbers for charitable donations and volunteering last year.

As a whole, Americans are a pretty giving bunch—especially these days, thanks in no small part to rising economic fortunes.

That’s a key finding of “Charitable Giving in the USA 2019,” a new report published by CAF America based on a survey of more than 1,100 Americans conducted by YouGov. According to the report, which breaks down the state of donations and volunteering, 70 percent of people surveyed took part in some sort of charitable activity last year, up from 62 percent in 2017.

Giving money was a popular way to do so—whether people gave to a charity or church or sponsored an individual. The study found that 62 percent of Americans donated money in some form last year—with 50 percent giving to a nonprofit or charity. Some key findings on donations:

  • The average donation size was $461, while the typical amount was about $100.
  • Donating with cash and donating online were equally popular (39 percent).
  • Fifteen other methods of making donations included texting (3 percent), paying membership fees (6 percent), and participating in fundraising events (9 percent).

Meanwhile, more than a third of Americans (35 percent) volunteered, an increase from 2017, when 31 percent of respondents said they volunteered. Volunteering with religious organizations (28 percent) was slightly more popular than helping out nonprofits (24 percent).

The most active donors are over 55 (76 percent of whom have taken part in charitable activities in the past year) and those with incomes over $80,000 (83 percent).

In an emailed news release, CAF America President and CEO Ted Hart said the uptick in donations, whether of time or money, comes at a time when charities could use the help.

“So many Americans have stepped up to the plate in the last 12 months and supported the causes that they care about, reflecting our nation’s long and rich tradition of charity and philanthropic giving,” Hart said. “At a time when nonprofits around the world are struggling to maintain their financial sustainability, it’s great to see so many Americans continuing that commitment to positive social change.”

CAF America, which advises corporations, foundations, and individuals on their fundraising initiatives, is part of the global Charities Aid Foundation. The report is part of a larger global series on charitable giving being published in Australia, Canada, Russia, South Africa, India, and other countries.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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