New research: Six in 10 Americans would prefer a donation to charity in their name instead of a gift

Sixty percent of donors will finish holiday shopping before charitable giving

BOSTON, November 30, 2021 – Though two-thirds of Americans say they participate in charitable activities at year-end, many will leave it to the last minute, according to a new Fidelity Charitable study focused on how people are thinking about end-of-year giving. The study, released today, included data gathered from more than 1,500 American adults.

Supply chain shortages this year may result in disappointed holiday shoppers, but the study suggests that charitable giving could be the perfect gift to give this season instead. Nearly six in 10 (59 percent) of Americans say they would rather receive a donation to charity on their behalf instead of a gift for themselves this year.

The study also found:

  • More than 90 percent of charitable investors—those giving $1,000 or more—say they will give the same or more this year compared to 2020. However, many are not aware or taking advantage of tax-smart giving methods. For example, while stock market returns are up significantly this year, only about half (55 percent) know about the tax-efficient method of donating stock to charity, and fewer than one in five (18 percent) have done so.
  • Nearly two-in-three Americans who give (63 percent) plan to take advantage of the temporary provision for tax deductions on some cash donations for non-itemizers created by the CARES Act.

“At such a busy time, it’s easy to put off year-end charitable decisions, but there are advantages to acting early. You can maximize your ability to support your favorite causes and your 2021 tax benefits using smart giving strategies,” said Kristen Robinson, chief operating officer at Fidelity Charitable. “And while we encourage people not to run down the clock for practical reasons, we think it will be particularly meaningful to integrate charitable activity into holiday traditions this year after another challenging year that has reinforced the importance of supporting our communities and each other.”

The study also explored what charitable activities Americans are planning for the end of the year. More than half (53 percent) of those participating in philanthropic activities say they will give to charity, with other top responses being donating goods to charity (46 percent), donating money/goods directly to individuals in need (27 percent) or performing random acts of kindness (25 percent).

Among charitable investors—individuals who gave at least $1,000 last year and have at least $25,000 in investable assets—charitable giving is particularly top of mind. More than 90 percent plan to maintain or increase their donations in 2021, and charitable giving is among the top two topics those working with a financial advisor hope to discuss at year-end.

Nearly 60 percent experienced a significant financial event in 2021—including market gains, bonuses and required retirement account distributions, and half who did (50 percent) think they will owe more in taxes this year as a result. Yet despite their heightened interest in giving, many are not taking advantage of giving strategies that could help them give more while reducing taxes. For example, fewer than one in five (18 percent) have donated appreciated assets, such as publicly traded stock.


Read the full study

Read nine end-of-year giving tips


Methodology: This report is based on a study conducted in October and November 2021 by Artemis Strategy Group, an independent research firm, on behalf of Fidelity Charitable. The study examined year-end charitable giving among 510 adults in the U.S. A second sample examined year-end giving among 1,019 “charitable investors,” defined as those who have a minimum of $25,000 in investable assets and gave $1,000 or more to charity in 2020.


About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 328,000 nonprofit organizations with $51 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple, and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit

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