Disaster Relief Tops Other Charitable Causes on ‘Giving Tuesday’

44% of those participating in the event plan to donate $100 or more
Tornado clean up

Many consumers consider giving to be a major part of their personal financial plan, and this year, disasters are top of mind for many consumers when designating their charitable donations, a new survey shows.

Classy, an organization that develops online fundraising software for nonprofits, surveyed 1,000 adults in order to learn more about consumers’ giving plans and priorities. It focused much of its research on “Giving Tuesday,” the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, when consumers are encouraged to give to charities.

The survey found that 20% of consumers planned to take part in Giving Tuesday this year. Of that group, 39% expected to donate more this year than last year, while 10% were cutting back on their gift, and 50% said they would donate the same amount.

In terms of specific dollar amounts, 44% of those intending to donate plan to give $100 or more, up from 36% who planned to give that much last year.

Disasters are a prime concern

While there are many different causes competing for charitable dollars, Giving Tuesday participants were more focused on some than others. Disaster relief topped the list, cited by 41% of respondents to the survey. That was followed by the environment and animal-related causes, named by 39% of respondents, and health-related causes, cited by 35%.

Interestingly, the 2019 results closely matched the results of 2018. And among those who took part in Giving Tuesday last year, 90% planned to donate to the same causes on Giving Tuesday of this year.

Southerners made up the largest percentage of Giving Tuesday participants, at 31%, while 25% of those expecting to participate lived in the West, and 21% were in the Midwest.

Awareness of Giving Tuesday is also increasing, as 37% of those surveyed this year said they knew about the event, compared to 27% in 2018. Younger consumers were more likely to have heard of it:

  • 50% of Gen Zers (those between 18-22) knew about Giving Tuesday
  • 39% of millennials (those between 23-38) knew about it
  • 38% of Gen Xers (those between 39-54) knew about it
  • 33% of baby boomers (those between 55-73) knew about it

While the majority of those who give to charities — 67% — said they do so in order to help a cause they care about, some admitted to feeling social pressure to give. In fact, 34% admitted they would be more likely to give to a charity if they were asked in front of other people. Also, 12% said their primary motivation for giving was the tax write-off.

Just as you plan your budgeting and spending strategy, take time to plan your giving strategy to make sure it reflects your priorities. If one of your motivations for donating to charities is to receive a tax benefit, take the time to understand how recent changes to tax law — especially the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act — may have affected this. In fact, half of taxpayers have made adjustments to their charitable giving strategies as a result of tax reform.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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