Charitable giving rates among high-net worth Americans is on the upswing.

The average amount given to charity by wealthy households rose 28% over the past two years. Giving jumped to $68,580 last year from $53,519 in 2011, according to the 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy released Tuesday. The report, which is done biennially in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, also shows that virtually all the high net worth households (98.4%) donated to charity last year compared to 95.4% in 2011 and is at the highest level since the U.S. Trust study began in 2006. The study included interviews with 632 U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding the value of their home) and/or an annual household income of above $200,000.

Charitable giving among wealthy donors looks positive going forward with 85% indicating they plan to give as much (50%) or more (35%) in the next three to five years as they have in the past. The top reasons cited by those who plan to increase their giving are “increased financial capacity” (85%) and the “perceived need of the nonprofits or causes” they support (48%).

“This year’s study, more than ever, tells us that when wealthy donors are intentional about and engaged in their giving – when they find that meaningful intersection between their ideas and ideals – they give more, are more impactful and more personally fulfilled," Claire Costello, national philanthropic practice executive for U.S. Trust, said in a statement.

Only one-third (34%) of donors surveyed cited tax advantages among their chief motivators for giving.  The top motivations included believing that their gift can make a difference (74%), personal satisfaction (73%), supporting the same causes annually (66%), giving back to the community (63% and serving on a nonprofit organization’s board or volunteering for a nonprofit (62%).  Eighty five percent of those polled said they gave to education causes in 2013 making it the largest supported charitable subsector of high net worth households.

Read more:


Register or login for access to this item and much more

All On Wall Street content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access