Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Philanthropic Behavior of Wealthy Americans

Recently the Bank of America sponsored the most comprehensive survey to-date of the philanthropic behavior of wealthy Americans. This High Net-Worth Philanthropy Study was conducted by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The study included nearly 1,000 respondents with household income greater than $200,000 and/or net-worth of at least $1,000,000.

So what is important to high net worth donors? Some interesting highlights:

“Giving back” is more important than “leaving a legacy.” They are most driven in their donations by “meeting critical needs” (86.3%). The next most important motivators were “giving back to society” (82.6%) “Leaving a legacy” was cited by only 26.1%.

The wealthy think more about the strategic impact of their charitable giving, and act based on specific requests. (Hmmm...see my last post...this is really important)

There is a surprising correlation between donations of time and dollars. This study indicates that the wealthy do not want to just “write a check." Those who write checks are also likely to volunteer their time, and, the more time volunteered, the bigger the check.

Even major tax policy changes would not impact their giving. Over 50% reported that their giving would be the same even if tax deductions were not allowed or the estate law changed.

Entrepreneurs are especially generous donors. In comparing household donations by sources of net worth, entrepreneurs stand apart for giving, contributing an average of $232,206 annually. The next highest donors were those who inherited wealth, giving an average of $109,745, less than half the total of entrepreneurs.

Bank of America High Net Worth Philanthropy Study

Marion Conway Consulting

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