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Americans Show Fatigue In Charitable Giving And Volunteering

After a strong commitment to giving in 2017, the American public is less inclined to give back with their time and money this holiday season, according to Ketchum’s second annual Disaster Relief Holiday Giving Study. The number of Americans planning to donate has decreased 18%, and those specifically planning to donate to disaster relief has decreased approximately 18% over last year, despite the fact that 2018 is likely to surpass 2017 with 11 disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion and the most destructive wildfire in California history. Specifically, the study found that among survey respondents of Americans ages 18 years and older:

  • 40% plan to give money in 2018, down from 49% in 2017
  • 29% plan to volunteer in 2018, down from 32% in 2017
  • 38% are not giving to natural disasters, compared with 29% who said they would not give to natural disasters in 2017

Monica Marshall, SVP and director of Ketchum’s Purpose specialty, said, “2018 was a charged year, with many people having very strong opinions about issues they care deeply about. We saw an increase in passionate participation in causes and even rage-giving. On top of that, the U.S. was inundated with disaster after disaster, and these factors were likely major drivers of the giving fatigue identified by this study.”

The survey also showed that, among survey respondents who plan to give to disaster relief during the 2018 holiday season, more than 8 in 10 (83%) will give in addition to, not in place of, personal and holiday shopping.

The ways in which people make their donations are shifting as well: cause-related product purchases and point-of-sale donations remain prevalent, at 55% and 44% respectively. However, both have declined slightly since 2017. Texting donations has increased to 13% in 2018 from only 8% in 2017. Millennials (ages 22 to 37) are leading the shift to donate by text.