Home > 2016 > Personal Finance

Here’s Where the Rich Are Donating Their Money

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

Some charities or causes seem to get more financial attention than others in terms of where wealthy people donate their money.

And now we have a bit more insight into where that is, thanks to this sneak peek of an extensive report from the U.S. Trust and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy called the 2016 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, due out in full on Oct. 25.

The Method

The study was administered nationally, through a 70-question survey, to high net worth individuals (households with incomes $200,000 and/or net worth of more than $1,000,000 — excluding the monetary value of their homes) between May 2016 and September 2016. More than 1,500 responding households met the income and/or wealth criteria for this study. There was no reported margin of error for the full study.

“For the last decade, [the study] has been an important barometer for charitable engagement and perspectives. The latest study will once again offer valuable insights that help inform the strategies of nonprofit professionals, wealthy donors and charitable advisors alike,” Claire Costello, managing director and National Philanthropic Specialist for U.S. Trust, told Credit.com.

The Winner Is …

The biggest category wealthy donors gave to last year was to Basic Needs organizations, with 63% of the rich group giving to organizations that provide food and shelter and the basic necessities for human survival. Donations for religious causes came in second (50%), followed by education (45%), the environment (42%) and health (40%).

The Age Spread

Age also impacted how many groups benefit from their donations. For example, donors over 70 were more likely to spread out donations to 11 different organizations, baby boomers gave to an average of seven and donors age 50 and younger gave to five, on average. The total average of all age groups was eight different organizations.

Political Giving 

Politics was a good cause for the well-heeled set: One out of four (24%) wealthy donors gave financially to a political candidate, campaign or committee last year or said they plan to do so during the 2016 election season. The most generous of this category were donors over the age of 70 (40%) and LGBT individuals (38%), who were more likely to give to a political candidate or campaign. If you were to compare benefactors by political party: Democrats (36%) were more likely to give than Republicans (22%). By ideology: Liberals (43%) were more likely to vote with their dollars and give donations than conservatives (24%) and moderates (17%).

The main reasons those with deep pockets reported they decided to buoy a candidate or campaign with their dollars was to exercise their voice (56%); help the outcome of elections (49%; this category was owned by men more than women and donors over the age of 50); and because they believe the candidate can make a difference (46%).

Those who held back their donations did so because they reportedly felt their political contributions would have little to no impact when compared to corporate contributions (47%) and contributions from Political Action Committees (PACs) (26%). About a third (31%) believed their contributions wouldn’t make a difference, and more than a quarter (26%) didn’t have a particular candidate they would endorse (26%).

Creating a Positive Impact on Society

When asked what they believe has the greatest potential for positive impact on society, wealthy donors cited charitable giving (45%) and volunteering (31%) above all else. And many believe the giving is more effective if it comes from the masses. Twice as many wealthy donors believe that smaller donations from many donors have a greater likelihood of changing the world than do larger donations from the wealthiest Americans (35% compared to 18%); however, most respondents are unsure which will have a greater impact (47%), according to the study.

When giving to charity, it’s important to be careful with sharing your personal information. One way you can do this is to keep an eye on your credit scores, because any changes can tip you off if someone has stolen your personal information in the process. You can pull copies of your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.

Image: ViewApart

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team