A new study from Bank of America reveals that 85% of household charitable giving decisions are influenced or made by affluent women, underscoring their significant role in philanthropy. These findings also highlight that most of these women align their purchasing decisions with their values, contributing to causes and organizations that resonate with their beliefs.
The study also points out the rising influence of millennials and Gen Z in philanthropy. Four out of every five affluent households under the age of 42 contributed to charitable causes last year. Notably, they were 2.5 times more likely than their older counterparts to prioritize climate change as one of their top causes.
The 2023 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy shows a remarkable recovery in giving, with 85% of affluent households donating to charities in 2022. The average donation rose to $34,917, marking a 19% increase from pre-pandemic levels. However, this figure is still lower than the peak donations seen in 2020, which reached an average of $43,195 due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s challenges and heightened awareness of racial and social justice issues.
Katy Knox, president of Bank of America Private Bank, commented on the findings: “This year’s study displays the American spirit of generosity, driven strongly by women and the younger generation, both keen on steering their wealth towards positive global change.”
Helping families affect donations
However, the percentage of affluent households participating in charitable donations decreased slightly, by 3%, compared with 2020. Economic and market instability in 2022 may be a factor, as 44% of those who refrained from donating cited the need to support their families, a significant jump from 27% five years ago.
Volunteerism also showed signs of resurgence among the affluent. Though not yet back to pre-2020 levels, volunteer rates climbed to 37% in 2022 from 30% in 2020. Affluent individuals who volunteered were more likely to donate to charities, with the median amount given by them being nearly four times that of non-volunteers.
Religious organizations remained the top beneficiaries, securing 36% of the total donations from affluent households. Yet, the number of households donating to religious entities saw a decline, dropping from 47% in 2020 to 39% in 2022.
This biennial study, conducted in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, offers a comprehensive glimpse into affluent Americans’ charitable behaviors. Researchers gathered data from over 1,600 affluent individuals, defined as having a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding primary home value) or an annual household income of $200,000 and above.