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Wealthy Americans' donations to charities dropped considerably from 2007 to 2009, according to a study released this week by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University researched and wrote the study.
The good news is that more than 98 percent of the 800 surveyed with an average wealth of $10.7 million donated to nonprofits in 2009. The bad economy is much to blame for the darker side of this picture: The average donation fell to $54,019 in 2009 from $83,9034 in 2007.
Wealthy households reported that they give when they believe their gift will make a difference (72.4 percent), when they feel financially secure (71.2 percent) and when they know the organization is efficient in its use of donations (71 percent).
The top reason high net worth donors gave for not giving to organizations they supported in the past shows another dynamic at work. Nearly 60 percent in the study said they stopped donating because of too frequent solicitations or that they were asked for inappropriate amounts. About 30 percent said it was because their household circumstances changed.


Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.