Wealthy donors have links to activities

Hold on to your seats, but rich people give a lot of money to nonprofit organizations.

Yes, many of those people with money are willing to part with it to help a cause. This was a finding in the “Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy,” which found that of the more than $300 billion donated in 2011, more than 70 percent was given by individuals, with roughly half given by the wealthiest 3 percent of American households.

Other findings were:

  • Giving linked to volunteering;
  • Donors give strategically;
  • Donors’ expectations influence decisions on giving;
  • The percentage of high-worth donors giving to organizations was as follows: to education (80 percent), to basic needs (79 percent), to arts (69 percent), to health (65 percent), to religious (65 percent). The three areas receiving the largest proportion of gift dollars in 2011 were education (28 percent), giving vehicles (23 percent) and religious organizations (13 percent);
  • More wealthy donors were motivated by knowing a gift could make a difference, feeling financially secure, a history of supporting an organization or cause or seeing organizational efficiency than tax advantages, in some cases by more than two to one;
  • Family traditions and preparing the next generation; and,
  • Societal issues and confidence in those working to address them.