Most Americans prefer a donation in their name to a favorite charity rather than a traditional holiday gift for themselves, a sign that charitable inclinations remain strong, according to a new poll from Fidelity Charitable.
The organization released the poll on Giving Tuesday, a global event geared toward boosting charitable donations. Another major sponsor of charitable funds, Vanguard Charitable, this week updated a tool on its website designed to help investors target charitable gifts toward addressing hunger and homelessness.
In its survey of 1,500 people, Fidelity Charitable found that 59% favored the charitable donation while 41% said they would want a gift for themselves. The poll also found that 64% will participate in philanthropic activities at the end of year, although 60% said they would put them off until after holiday shopping.
The Fidelity Charitable poll confirmed an upward trajectory in giving that started when the coronavirus pandemic created much need last year and has continued through this year. The poll showed that 90% of charitable investors who give at least $1,000 annually plan to maintain their donation level or “give notably more” this year.
Although the charitable sentiment was strong among those who participated in the Fidelity survey, most are not donating in the most tax-efficient way, such as using securities and other appreciated assets instead of cash to avoid capital gains taxes. The poll showed that 55% were aware of such approaches but only 18% used them.
“At such a busy time, it’s easy to put off year-end charitable decisions, but there are advantages to acting early,” Kristen Robinson, chief operating officer at Fidelity Charitable, said in a statement. “You can maximize your ability to support your favorite causes and your 2021 tax benefits using smart giving strategies. And while we encourage people not to run down the clock for practical reasons, we think it will be particularly meaningful to integrate charitable activity into holiday traditions this year after another challenging year that has reinforced the importance of supporting our communities and each other.”
Charitable donations could be a good alternative to physical gifts given widespread supply-chain backups this holiday season, Fidelity Charitable suggested in a statement.
The upward trend in charitable donations has increased demand for investment advice about giving. Vanguard Charitable’s Nonprofit Aid Visualizer, which was originally launched in October, was updated this week to add a feature that finds nonprofits operating in areas struggling with hunger and homelessness.
“At Vanguard Charitable, we’re focused on increasing giving and providing donors with innovative, transparent, and easy solutions that help them achieve their giving priorities — and NAVi for Hunger & Homelessness will do just that,” Rebecca Moffett, president of Vanguard Charitable, said in a statement. “This tool is a direct result of our donors telling us they’re focused on hunger and homelessness, two interwoven problems that have been greatly exacerbated by the ripple effects of Covid-19.”
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