Time and money: Fidelity Charitable donors support charities through volunteer work and record grant recommendations

Majority of donors volunteer with two-thirds of volunteers committing more than 50 hours a year; Last year, donors recommended more than 620,000 grants totaling nearly $2.6 billion.

BOSTON, January 26, 2015 - Fidelity Charitable donors recommended a record of nearly $2.6 billion in grants to support more than 92,000 charities in 2014. In recent survey, the majority of Fidelity Charitable donors also showed themselves to be highly committed to donating time, with 79 percent having volunteered in the past year and two-thirds (67 percent) of volunteers committing more than 50 hours to their favorite charities. Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity with a donor-advised fund program.

“Our donors are highly involved in their favorite causes and attuned to their needs,” said Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable. “Their passion for causes large and small drives their desire to support many wonderful organizations through both time and money. Their commitment to maximizing their charitable impact drives their use of donor-advised funds for their philanthropy and pushes our granting to new highs year after year.”

Volunteer Activity Can Boost Financial Support, Varies With Age

Committing time to the causes they care about is a key component of many donors’ philanthropy and, in a study of more than 350 Fidelity Charitable donors, 84 percent of volunteers plan to maintain or increase their volunteer hours.

This could be a positive sign for charities that rely on volunteers’ time and expertise―as well as donations―to help fulfill their mission. Half of volunteers surveyed indicated they were inspired to give more because they volunteered their time, and two out of five donated their time to a charity before making a financial gift.

Donors near retirement age, 61 to 70 years old, were the most active volunteers with more than half (54 percent) giving more than 100 hours in the past year and 82 percent planning to maintain or increase their volunteer hours. Donors near retirement age have a strong interest in volunteer opportunities that require a specific skillset (65 percent) and were the most likely to donate professional services (41 percent). The study data suggest donors in this age group are seeking opportunities to continue utilizing their expertise in different ways as they wind down their careers.

Younger donors, 50 years old or less, were most likely to have volunteered (89 percent) but least likely to have committed more than 100 hours (25 percent). However, 43 percent plan to increase their volunteering in the next few years. This indicates donors in this cohort are balancing their significant interest in giving back with commitments to other important priorities, such as starting or raising a family. In fact, younger donors are three times more likely (34 percent) than older donors to seek opportunities to volunteer together with their families.

Executive summary on the 2015 Fidelity Charitable Volunteer Study.

Grants Rose 24 Percent in 2014

During 2014, Fidelity Charitable made more than 620,000 donor-recommended grants totaling nearly $2.6 billion, a 24 percent increase from 2013.

  • Grants ranged from $50 to multi-million-dollar grants, with an average grant size of $4,100, a slight increase from 2013.
  • Donors recommended 277 grants sized $1 million or more totaling $612 million, an 18 percent increase, year-over-year, in the amount given through grants of that size.
  • Donors used their donor-advised funds to support planned giving and urgent needs. For example, donors supported Ebola relief efforts by drawing on the “ready reserves” in their donor-advised funds to recommend nearly $5.5 million through more than 1,000 grants designated to the cause. Granting began in the spring but the majority, 74 percent of grants and 84 percent of the grant dollars, were recommended in the fourth quarter.

Since inception in 1991 through the end of 2014, Fidelity Charitable has expended 63 percent of its contributions as grants as it helped donors support more than 190,000 charities through nearly $19 billion in grants.

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 190,000 nonprofit organizations with nearly $19 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to further the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving simple and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit https://www.fidelitycharitable.org.

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