52% of Donors Plan No Decrease in Giving in 2009
March 13, 2009, Chronicle of Philanthropy — Their investment portfolios may be slumping and their jobs less secure, but a majority of Americans who give to charity still plan to donate as much this year as they have in the past, according to a new survey.
More than 52 percent of donors said their gifts would be on par with 2008, while just 17.5 percent planned to give less.
But many Americans are still undecided about their plans for giving this year: Thirty percent of respondents said it was too soon for them to know how much they would give.
That leaves a great deal of room for the economic climate, as well as the effectiveness of fund raisers, to shape donors’ giving patterns this year.
Conducted in January by Cygnus Applied Research, the survey polled 17,365 people who had given in the past to charity. The respondents donated an average of $11,490 last year.
Most people in the survey said they had been touched in some way by the recession. More than 40 percent had lost their jobs or taken a hit in their income, while nearly 60 percent had seen their investments decrease in value.
On the whole, they were relatively pessimistic about the economy’s outlook. The largest share of respondents (39 percent) said they thought it would be at least three years before the economy recovered, while 23.4 percent felt the economy would rebound in less than two years.
But the respondents were prepared to make sacrifices to sustain their philanthropy. Of those who planned to give at least as much in 2009, 50 percent said they were willing to make compromises in other areas of their life to do so.
Most people said the recession would not affect their previous charitable commitments. Of those who were committed to a multi-year gift, 87 percent said they would pay the donations on time.