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Despite Economic Challenges, Americans Are Donating More to Social Causes, Edward Jones Study Finds

Yet, over half of respondents do not incorporate charitable giving into their overall financial strategy

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The majority of American adults (68%) intend to donate a similar amount of money to charity this year as they did in 2021 despite the current economic uncertainty, according to a new study conducted by financial services firm Edward Jones with Morning Consult. More adults (17%) are planning to increase their contributions than decrease donations (10%) this year, the study found. Of those who are planning to donate more this year, 39% cite social/political issues as the catalyst.

The survey revealed that the biggest barrier preventing people from donating is not having access to excess funds (61%). Other barriers include saving money to account for inflation (30% of givers and 20% of non-givers), being unsure about where the funds are going (26% of givers and 17% of non-givers) and not knowing where to donate (8% of givers and 5% of non-givers).

"While we are excited to see that Americans remain focused on continuing their donation patterns, it is no surprise that there are concerns about how charitable giving can impact their personal finances," said Zachary Gildehaus, senior analyst, client needs research at Edward Jones. "It is important to remember that giving back can take many forms and charitable giving can look different depending on your personal financial situation. For instance, if you're not able to give monetarily, volunteering time or even donating lightly used household items is a great way to connect with a cause you're passionate about."

Financial Strategies for Giving

Nearly all Americans (93%) donate at least once a year and those who do are most motivated to give for altruistic reasons. Believing it is important to help others in need (66%), making an impact on something that matters (50%) and having a positive impact on their community (40%) are the motivations driving most to donate to charitable causes.

Younger generations are more eager to incorporate charitable giving into their overall financial strategies, with half of Millennials and GenZers saying they have already done so or are interested in doing so, even if just for tax benefits (52% and 49%, respectively). Despite this desire to include giving within financial strategies, younger generations may not be aware of the myriad of options available, such as a donor-advised fund - a charitable-giving tool that allows an investor to make an irrevocable contribution to the fund and receive an immediate tax deduction in the year of the contribution. The money is invested based on the investor's preferences and any investment growth is income tax-free. Over time, the investor can then recommend grant or distribution requests to IRS-approved, public charities they wish to support.

"To incorporate giving strategies into your financial strategy, it is essential for Americans to seek advice from a trusted financial advisor who can walk them through the different resources and approaches available to understand what works best, such as adding charitable giving as a line item in your monthly budget. From the dollar amount to the time of year one chooses to donate, there are several factors to consider," added Gildehaus.

The Role of the Financial Advisor

Surprisingly, very few adults work with a financial advisor when it comes to charitable giving, with only 23% of respondents engaging their advisor. Those who do work with a financial advisor report being more purposeful with their giving strategies. In fact, Americans working with a financial advisor feel more successful (35% v. 17%) and excited (34% v. 15%) after donating than those who do not.

The survey also found that those who work with a financial advisor on charitable giving strategies are more than three times more likely (70% compared to 22%) to donate non-cash assets (stock, real estate, business interests, etc.), which can have a greater positive impact on their financial situation and the charity they support. Those who work with a financial advisor and use strategies such as donor-advised funds may also find their contributions go further. Once money is invested in a donor-advised fund, it can grow tax-free over time, expanding investors' charitable impact.

Among those who work with a financial advisor, 78% of respondents said they were interested in including their families in a conversation about their charitable giving strategies. Donor-advised funds can help investors involve their families in giving during their lifetime, allowing for joint or supervised charitable giving. They can also help when it comes to leaving a legacy, as a donor-advised fund can continue to make grants for a period of time, or be named a beneficiary of a will, trust, retirement plan or investment account.

Edward Jones will host a webinar on charitable giving on November 16, 2022. To register, visit: edwardjones.com/webinars. For more information on how charitable giving can be leveraged in your overall financial strategy, please visit: edwardjones.com/charitable-giving.


The survey was conducted by global data intelligence company Morning Consult among a national sample of 2,210 adults from August 11?14, 2022.

About Edward Jones

Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 firm, provides financial services in the U.S. and through its affiliate in Canada. The firm's nearly 19,000 financial advisors serve more than 8 million clients with a total of $1.6 trillion in client assets under care. Edward Jones' purpose is to partner for positive impact to improve the lives of its clients and colleagues, and together, better our communities and society. Through the dedication of the firm's 50,000 associates and our branch presence in 68 percent of U.S. counties, the firm is committed to helping more people achieve financially what is most important to them. The Edward Jones website is at www.edwardjones.com, and its recruiting website is www.careers.edwardjones.com. Member SIPC.

SOURCE Edward Jones

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