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US giving surveys show optimism for future

US giving surveys show optimism for future

News (UK)

Wealthy US households maintained giving at 9% of household income between 2009 and 2011, and 76% plan to give as much or more during the next three to five years, according to the 2012 Bank of America Study of High New Worth Philanthropy.

However the average dollar amount given per high net worth household declined 7% between 2009 and 2011, from $56,621 (£35,425) to $52,770 (£33,018), adjusted for inflation.

Meanwhile, 60% of US companies reported increased giving levels in 2011 over 2009, the year companies reported the biggest retreat in corporate giving, according to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), Giving in Numbers: 2012 Edition report. Median total giving of companies surveyed came in at $21.2m (£13.26m).

Whilst number of grants per full-time giving staff person at a company dropped 26% from 2009 to 2011, the median grant size rose 31% over the same period.

Charles Moore, executive director of CECP, said:  “Our analysis this year shows that companies are becoming more focused about their giving: from larger grants to a smaller number of organizations; to giving where they have community connections; to using the skills and expertise of the business to build their community engagement.”

Based on the Corporate Giving Standard (CGS), this report analyzes giving trends from 2011 data provided by 214 corporations, including 62 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500. Its findings appear more positive than recent UK research which has found a fall in corporate cash giving between 2009 and 2011.

CECP’s report also showed that 85% of companies had a formal domestic employee volunteer programme. An embrace of opportunities to volunteer time and skills to non-profit organisations was also seen amongst wealthy individuals surveyed by Bank of America. In 2011 89% of respondents volunteered, up 10 percentage points from 2009.

Increasingly, high net worth individuals are giving their contributions to organizations where they both volunteer and believe their gift will have the largest impact, 2012 Bank of America Study of High New Worth Philanthropysaid. In instances where both were true, the average gift to these organizations grew by 40% between 2009 and 2011, from $73,301 (£45,865) to $102,642 (£64,221).

“During the past decade, we have seen donors become increasingly impact driven and strategic in their charitable activities,”said Una Osili, Ph.D., professor of economics and philanthropic studies and director of research for the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. “They are more focused, more engaged through volunteerism, and their commitment is strongest when they are personally involved with the nonprofits to which they give.”

2012 Bank of America Study of High New Worth Philanthropyresults are based on a nationwide sample of 700 households with a net worth of $1m (£626,000) or more (excluding the value of their home) and/or an annual household income of $200,000 (£125,191) or more. The survey was conducted between April 2012 and September 2012.

Recent UK research into investment by individuals and companies into the arts suggests individual giving is holding up better than corporate involvement. Private sector investment in the arts rose to £686.6m in 2010/11, around 4% higher than in 2009/10, business investment in the arts is down for the fourth successive year, falling to £134.2m in 2010/11 down from £144.1m in 2009/10 and a peak of £171.5m in 2006/7.

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