A Valentine Story: Most Couples Decide On Giving Together

February 14, 2017       Mark Hrywna      

More than 80 percent of donors make giving decisions as a couple and on average only 11 percent said they disagree on those decisions, according to a recent survey.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Fidelity Charitable on Monday released “How Couples Give,” a survey of almost 700 donors who are married or living with a partner.

Couples are most likely to discuss giving decisions regarding which charities to support and how much support to send specific nonprofits. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they make the decision about which charities to support with their spouse or partner and 70 percent said they also determine how much monetary support to give to a specific charity.

Barely half of those surveyed said they make the decision together about an overall charitable giving budget or amount to give each year. Almost two-thirds make the decision without their spouse or partner about which assets to contribute.

More than three-quarters of respondents said they have an advisor, only 8 percent said they consult with an advisor on a yearly charitable giving budget.

“Couples tend to think they are on the same page when it comes to giving, but when talking to donors, we’ve found that there is always room for better communication,” said Elaine Martyn, vice president of Fidelity Charitable’s private donor group, a program designed to help donors develop strategic approaches to their giving. “A conversation about charitable giving is a real opportunity to reaffirm the values you share as a couple,” she said.

On average, 60 percent of married or partnered couples said they agree when discussing various giving decisions and another 29 percent they “disagree rarely” compared with 11 percent who said they disagree occasionally/frequently.

When asked how giving decisions are shared, the widest disparity in answers among men and women was found among which assets to contribute, with 73 percent of women saying it’s a shared decision compared with 49 percent of men. On other questions of which charities to support, how much to give to a specific charity, or an overall annual charitable budget or amount, the percentage of men and women who said decision-making was shared equally was much closer, as much as 66 and 63 percent, respectively.

Married women said a third of the charitable dollars in the household go to nonprofits that are primarily important solely to them while married men said it was more like a quarter for organizations important solely to them. Married men said almost two-thirds (63 percent) of charitable dollars go to organizations important to both partners while women estimated it was closer to half (52 percent).

To access the complete report, visit https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/docs/how-couples-give.pdf

  • Couples
  • donors
  • Fidelity Charitable
  • Valentine’s Day