The survey showed that Americans, on average, expect to give $2,400 to charity this year, a 13% increase from $2,100 last year. Approximately four in 10 (42%) cited improved personal economic reasons for giving more, including a new job, a raise or lower household expenses.
“While there is still uncertainty about where the economy is headed, Americans are showing a willingness to give more to the causes they care about,” Sarah Libbey, president of Fidelity Charitable, said in a statement.
Family ties and tradition, not tax deductions, appear to be driving the giving, the survey found. More than four in 10 respondents (44%) said they donate to charity to set a good example for their family or community, with two-thirds (67%) describing charitable giving as a holiday tradition in their family. Many of the respondents, 71%, said they are influenced to give by a life event, such as an illness or death among family or friends. Three-quarters said charitable tax deductions do not influence their giving.
The survey also found that political donations do not cut into donations for non-political charities. For those who donated or planned to donate to political campaigns, the vast majority, 89%, said it did not negatively impact their charitable giving.
More than four in five Americans (82%) said their parents taught them to give, and 78% have taught or are teaching their children to do the same. Of those respondents who are passing on the tradition of giving, 71% cite encouraging their children to volunteer time as a way to teach philanthropy.
Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity, is experiencing the upward trend in giving first-hand, as the year looks to be its strongest ever in incoming contributions as well as outgoing grants to charities. Through the end of September, Fidelity Charitable drew $1.2 billion in donor contributions, up 63% from the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, grants rose 16%, with $961 million given through 256,000 grants.
The survey polled 571 adults who intend to donate $200 or more to charity in 2012. It was conducted October 4 – 7 by independent research firm Opinion Research Corporation.