As we approach the giving season of 2023, it’s a good time to reflect on the state of charitable giving among affluent households. The 2023 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy, released in October, offers a comprehensive look at the trends and influences that shape charitable contributions in our society. You may find the following useful as you consider your plans for giving this season and in the future:

Affluent Giving Trends

Affluent households have shown unwavering generosity in recent years. In 2022, an impressive 85% donated to charitable causes. What’s even more striking is that the average value of these donations rose by 19% above pre-pandemic levels. The study reveals that these households contributed an average of $34,917 in 2022, a substantial increase from $29,269 in 2017. While this figure dipped slightly from the peak of $43,195 in 2020, it’s clear that affluent individuals remain committed to giving back.

The study suggests that women wield considerable influence in philanthropic decisions, with 85% of giving choices influenced by them. Additionally, the report notes that younger donors – Millennials and Gen Z – are increasingly focused on causes related to climate change, with four in five under-42 households contributing to these efforts.

Volunteering on the Rise

Volunteering plays a significant role in the charitable landscape. Although the rate of volunteering among affluent individuals hasn’t fully recovered to pre-2020 levels, it showed a marked increase, reaching 37% in 2022, compared to 30% in 2020. Affluent volunteers are driven by the desire to address pressing needs and a belief that their service creates meaningful impact. Importantly, those who volunteer are more likely to donate to charitable causes, underscoring the interconnectedness of these activities.

Women in Philanthropy

The study highlights the critical role of women in shaping charitable giving decisions. Not only do they influence the choices made, but they also align their purchasing decisions with their values, volunteer, and participate in sustainable or impact investing. Despite this strong philanthropic leadership, the study reports that women remain underrepresented on nonprofit governance boards, with only 16% of affluent women holding such positions, compared to 30% of affluent men.

Philanthropic Strategies

Affluent households use a diverse array of strategies to achieve their philanthropic goals. Approximately 22% of them employ structured giving vehicles like donor-advised funds, family foundations, or charitable remainder trusts. Notably, 79% make purchasing decisions that align with their values, actively supporting companies prioritizing positive social impact.

Recipient Organizations

Religious organizations continue to receive the largest share of giving dollars, accounting for 36% of total donations. While they consistently gain the most substantial portion of funds, the number of affluent households contributing to religious causes declined from 47% in 2020 to 39% in 2022. Basic needs organizations received the second-highest median gift amount.

According to Double the Donation, 30% of annual giving happens in December, with a whopping 10% happening during the last three days of the year. And it’s not just money – 81% contribute food or other goods to nonprofits through in-kind donations.

However you plan to support your favorite charity or cause, may this season of giving bring you joy, happiness, and fulfillment.

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