How Many Adults Donate to Charity?

September 2, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Boomers & Older | Demographics & Audiences | Hispanic | Household Income | Industries | Men | Non-Profit | Women | Youth & Gen X

Almost 7 in 10 (69% of) US adults have ever donated money to charitable causes or organizations, with this figure higher among women (73%) than men (64%), according to a survey [pdf] from YouGov.

The study reveals that a slight majority (54%) of adults donated money to a charitable cause or organization within the preceding 12 months, with this again higher among female (57%) than male (51%) respondents. There was also a significant disparity in charitable giving by age: 77% of adults ages 65 and older reported a charitable donation in the previous year, compared to 57% of those ages 45-64, 45% of those ages 30-44, and just 35% of those ages 18-29.

Sorting by other demographic variables, the results show that White respondents (58%) are more likely than Black (45%) and Hispanic (46%) respondents to report a charitable donation in the past year. There’s also a clear correlation between income and charitable giving: 70% of those with household income of at least $100K say they made a donation, compared with 64% of respondents with family income of $50-100K and 41% of those with family income of less than $50K.

Here are some other highlights from the survey:

  • The most common amount donated in the previous year is less than $99, as noted by 23% share of respondents. Still, 13% reported donating $1,000 or more, with men (17%) more likely than women (10%) and older adults more apt than younger adults to have donated this amount.
  • Asked which of various categories of charities they had donated to within the past 12 months, respondents pointed most to Human Services (33%), followed by Religions organization (27%), Animals (21%) and Health and disease (21%). Previous research has found Animal Welfare and Health/Medical Research to be the most important causes for those considering supporting a charity.
  • The most frequently-cited reason for donating to a charity is because the respondent believes in the cause (48%), though a substantial proportion (31%) also donate because they believe one should give to charity.
  • Among those who report donating to charities, 80% consider it very important that they know their funds will be used in the way that will do the most good possible, 77% consider it very important that they know their funds will be used in the most effective way, and 62% consider it very important that they know exactly what their donation is funding. The former is perceived to be the most important when choosing a charity.

About the Data: The results are based on a July survey of 1,000 US adults (18+).

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