Giving without goals can leave donors feeling unfulfilled

Fidelity Charitable Launches Campaign to Help Donors Create a Plan; For the 68 Percent of Pre-Retirees Expecting to Increase Their Charitable Activity, It’s a Good Time to Develop a Mission

BOSTON, August 31, 2015 – Although the majority of donors know which charities they will support each year, only 22 percent have a mission statement or set of goals to guide their giving, according to Giving and Planning, a new study from Fidelity Charitable. A separate study by a third party found that only two of five donors are highly satisfied with the impact they are making through their charitable efforts, and only one in five believe their giving is highly effective.1

“Many of our donors plan to expand their commitment to philanthropy within the next five years, with full-time employed donors in their fifties most likely to anticipate increasing the time they spend on philanthropic activities,” said Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable. “Having a mission statement to guide one's giving can amplify the impact of charitable contributions, as well as boost the confidence donors have in their giving and the satisfaction they get from it. Moreover, charities can work together with these donors to meet long-term goals.”

Key findings from the survey of 1,042 Fidelity Charitable donors are:

  • Most know where they will give: 78 percent of donors have a good sense of which charities they will support each year and 53 percent know how much they will give.
  • Women are more likely to have a plan: 27 percent of women compared to only 19 percent of men have developed a mission statement to guide their giving.
  • Boomers expect to be highly engaged in philanthropy once retired: 68 percent of full-time employees in their fifties plan to commit more time to philanthropy in the next five years, compared to 41 percent of all donors surveyed. Retirees are significantly more likely to spend more than 20 hours per month on philanthropic activities (25 percent) than full-time employees (16 percent).
  • Using a donor-advised fund improves planning: 29 percent plan their giving further in advance after setting up a donor-advised fund.

Boost Your Giving IQ Campaign to Help Donors Create a Plan

Over the next two months, Fidelity Charitable will share extensive guidance and information related to philanthropic giving through its website and via social media. Featuring perspectives from experts at Fidelity Charitable and philanthropic advisory firms, the Boost Your Giving IQ campaign will provide advice on:

  • Creating a charitable mission statement
  • Creating an action plan for giving
  • Selecting nonprofits that are aligned with a donor’s charitable goals
  • Engaging with nonprofits and other donors to amplify impact

“Our donors look to us to help them make more of a difference for the causes they care about,” said Danforth. “The Boost Your Giving IQ campaign will offer expert advice to donors so they can achieve the greatest impact with their financial support and volunteer activities. Charities will feel a positive effect and, ultimately, donors will derive more joy and satisfaction from their giving.”

Download the Giving and Planning report.

About the Giving and Planning Report

Giving and Planning is based on a survey of 1,042 Fidelity Charitable donors, conducted in February and March of 2015. The survey was conducted by Ipsos, an independent research firm.

1 UBS Investor Watch, 4Q 2014

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 210,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $20 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

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