$2.6 Billion In Grants By Fidelity Charitable Donors

January 27, 2015       Zach Halper      

Donors committed plenty of time and money to charities last year, setting a new record for grants while also volunteering with their favorite charities according to a new report from Fidelity Charitable.

The report, entitled “Time and Money: The Role of Volunteering in Philanthropy,” found that donors contributed $4.4 billion to their donor-advised funds (DAFs) for current and future giving, a 22 percent increase from 2013. Of those funds, a record $2.6 billion went as grants to 92,000 charities, a 24 percent increase over the amount of grants made in 2013.

Grants ranged from $50 to multi-million dollar grants, with an average size of $4,100. Many more grants this year were over $1 million, with 277 of that amount totaling $612 million, an 18 percent increase from 2013.

In terms of their DAFs, the report indicated that donors used their funds to support planned giving and urgent needs. For example, more than 1,000 grants totaling $5.5 million were contributed to Ebola relief efforts last year, all of which came from “ready reserves” from DAFs. Granting began in the spring but the majority, 74 percent of grants and 84 percent of the grant dollars, were recommended in the fourth quarter.

The report also found that these same donors were highly committed to giving their time as well as their money. The survey found that 79 percent of these donors volunteered in the past year and that two-thirds (67 percent) committed more than 50 hours to their favorite charity.

Donors not only contributed significant amounts of time to charities last year, but the report also found that this level of commitment will be sustained. Of the more than 350 Fidelity Charitable donors surveyed, 84 percent said they planned to maintain or increase their volunteer hours. In addition, half of volunteers surveyed indicated they were inspired to give more because they volunteered their time, and two out of five donated their time to a charity before making a financial gift.

“Our donors are highly involved in their favorite causes and attuned to their needs,” said Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable. “Their passion for causes large and small drives their desire to support many wonderful organizations through both time and money. Their commitment to maximizing their charitable impact drives their use of donor-advised funds for their philanthropy and pushes our granting to new highs year after year.”

Age was found to be a significant factor in volunteering. Donors aged 50 years or less were more likely to have volunteered (89 percent) than those aged 61-70 (81 percent). On the other hand, younger donors are less likely to commit 100 hours of volunteer time (25 percent), while older donors are more likely (54 percent).

Other key findings from the report include:

  • 43 percent of younger donors plan to increase their volunteering hours in the next year.
  • 87 percent of volunteers say there is an overlap between their volunteer and financial support.
  • Half of volunteers say they give more financial support because of their volunteer work.

You can find more information about Fidelity Charitable’s report at http://www.fidelitycharitable.org/docs/volunteering-and-philanthropy.pdf