MALVERN, PA — An online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Vanguard Charitable, a leading nonprofit that administers donor-advised funds (DAFs), found that 60% of American donors with a charitable giving budget say rising inflation had no impact on their giving or caused them to increase their giving over the past 12 months, with nearly 1 in 4 (24%) saying they increased their giving.
“In a time when nearly every American is feeling the impact of inflation, it is inspiring to see firsthand the power of having a charitable giving budget,” says Rebecca Moffett, president of Vanguard Charitable. “When funds are intentionally set aside and committed for charity, it makes an incredible difference in driving critical missions forward and supporting those most in need, no matter the state of the market. We see this with our own donors, who leverage donor-advised funds to be more responsive in moments of crisis, and more resilient during moments of economic uncertainty.”
American donors are maximizing charitable impact through intentional planning
American donors with a charitable giving budget are giving more, recognize the importance of being responsive to the needs of nonprofits navigating economic uncertainty, and are thinking ahead for how they can continue to support organizations.
- Increased generosity: American donors who included charitable giving in their annual budget gave nearly four times more ($2,268 vs. $626) than those who did not budget for giving over the past 12 months.
- Giving when it is needed most: 86% of Americans who have a charitable giving budget say it is important for them to support charities financially (i.e., donating money) during times of economic uncertainty (e.g., rising inflation, recession) compared to 72% with no giving budget.
- Looking to the future: Looking ahead at the next 12 months and the possibility of rising inflation, donors who have a charitable giving budget were two times more likely to say that they plan to give more than they normally would compared to donors without a charitable giving budget (20% vs. 10%).
Giving is on the rise, especially with younger generations
- The survey found that 45% of American donors have an annual charitable giving budget, similar to the year prior (44%).
- Additionally, 74% of Americans donated to charity in past 12 months, with younger Americans (ages 18-44) being more likely to say they donated more money than they normally would have as a result of inflation, compared to older Americans (ages 45+) (18% versus 8%).
Vanguard Charitable donors’ generosity increased as market uncertainty grew
From June through September of 2022, a heightened time of market uncertainty, the average Vanguard Charitable donor grant size increased by 14%, which resulted in an overall 4% increase in grant dollars issued to charities in need, compared to the same time period in 2021. Unrestricted giving also increased by 6% in the same time period year-over-year.
Both trends indicate that donors with a charitable giving plan and funds already committed to charity in a DAF were able to give more to nonprofits during a time of great need. Also, the uptick in unrestricted giving shows that donors were implementing trust-based philanthropy, meaning that they granted to nonprofits without a directive of how the funds should be used. Instead, nonprofits were able to apply those donations where they would make the most impact and drive their mission forward.
“As more traditional streams of funding continue to evolve amid market and economic changes, ongoing humanitarian emergencies around the world persist, requiring us to continue seeking sustainable revenue to effectively respond to the needs of today,” said David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. “Donor-advised funds offer the reliable and valuable support organizations like the International Rescue Committee depend on to drive their missions forward. The strategic support of DAF donors and platforms enables the IRC to make immediate and long-term impact as we help people affected by humanitarian crises to survive, recover, and rebuild their lives.”
Strategic planning is a key part of DAF donors’ charitable giving, which is why Vanguard Charitable offers varying resources to support their efforts, including this publicly available budgeting guide that supports the development of a purposeful and flexible charitable giving plan.
For more information about Vanguard Charitable or giving through donor-advised funds, visit www.vanguardcharitable.org.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Vanguard Charitable from September 20-22, 2022 among 2,065 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.
1 A charitable giving budget is defined as an intentional line item for charitable donations in an individual’s annual financial budget.
2 Although Vanguard provides certain investment management and administrative services to Vanguard Charitable pursuant to a service agreement, Vanguard Charitable is not a program or activity of Vanguard. A majority of Vanguard Charitable’s trustees are independent of Vanguard.