New Study Reveals Positive Giving and Volunteering Forecasts

2016-hnwThrough an ongoing partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the 2016 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy reveals a strong commitment to charitable causes among high net worth (HNW) households, and giving and volunteering levels poised to increase in future years. The Report is based on a survey of households with net assets of $1 million or more or annual family income of $200,000 or more.

  • Last year, the vast majority (91 percent) of HNW households donated to charity. This high rate of giving among the wealthy compares with 59 percent of the U.S. general population who donate to charity.
  • Fifty percent of wealthy individuals volunteered their time and talents last year to charitable organizations they care about – twice the rate of the general population (25 percent).
  • The study offers an optimistic view of future giving levels, with 83 percent of wealthy individuals planning to give as much (55 percent) or more (28 percent) in the next three years (through 2018) than they have in the past. Women, African Americans, and younger individuals (age 50 and under) are even more likely to increase their giving in the next three years.
  • Future levels of volunteerism are also promising. Among wealthy individuals who currently volunteer, 90 percent say they plan to do so as much (60 percent) or more (30 percent) over the next three years. Even among those who did not volunteer last year, 39 percent plan to do so during the coming years.

On average, wealthy donors gave to eight different nonprofit organizations last year. However, this number varied based on a donor’s age – donors over the age of 70 gave to an average of 11 organizations and baby boomers gave to seven, whereas younger donors (age 50 and under) gave to five.

Sixty-three percent of wealthy donors gave to basic needs organizations last year – making it the charitable subsector supported by the largest percentage of HNW households. Additional causes supported by the greatest percentages of wealthy donors included religion (50 percent), education (45 percent), the environment (42 percent) and health (40 percent). With respect to giving to education, 31 percent of respondents gave to higher education and 33 percent gave to K-12 education.

The Report also showed that the number one reason why HNW donors stop giving to any particular charity was too many solicitations!

To view a detailed summary of key findings and to access the full report, visit