Survey: Religious Nonprofits Lead Americans’ Charitable Choices, Except For Gen Z
For Gen Z, religious charities fell in sixth place behind human rights, animal-related, children’s health causes, and environmental causes.
Among Americans who donate to charity, religious charities and nonprofits are the most popular, with about 1 in 5 Americans giving to these groups over the last year, a consumer research firm reported. While some Americans say they never give to charity, many say they can’t donate because they don’t have money.
Overall, 19% of Americans said they gave to religious charities in the last year, according to a survey sponsored by the Bethesda, Maryland-based Collage Group. About 27% of baby boomer respondents, those born 1946–1964, said they gave to religious charities. This is compared with 18% of Gen Xers (born 1965–1980), 16% of millennials (born 1981–1996), and only 11% of Gen Z respondents (born 1997–2012). Charitable giving was about 19% across racial and ethnic groups.
Religious charities were the first choice of all generations except Gen Z. For Gen Z, religious charities fell in sixth place behind human rights, animal-related, children’s health causes, and environmental causes. About 15% of Gen Z said they gave to human rights groups.
Collage Group produced two reports based on May survey responses from 4,928 Americans aged 18–77, weighted to be nationally representative. One report focuses on generational aspects of charitable giving; another report focuses on racial and ethnic aspects among white, Hispanic, Black, and Asian Americans.
“Religious organizations are the dominant charity of choice for older generations, but younger gens are more fragmented in their charitable giving,” the Collage Group said in its reports. “Human rights and environmental causes in particular pop for Gen Z, who tend to have an inclusive and future-oriented mindset.”
“Baby boomers are the most likely generation to make donations in kind and one-off donations, meanwhile Gen Z, who may have fewer physical resources but more time on their hands, are the most likely generation to volunteer their time,“ the reports added.
About 68% of Americans said they don’t think they’ll have any money to donate in the coming year, with Black and white Americans slightly more likely to say this than Hispanics and Asians. Baby boomer and Gen Z respondents were less likely to say they would lack money to give, while millennial and Gen X respondents were more likely.
Only 32% of survey respondents said they never donate to charities or nonprofits. Almost 40% of Gen Z respondents said they never donate to charities or nonprofits.
Asian Americans were somewhat more likely to value charitable giving for disaster relief and children’s education, Black Americans prioritized human rights and social justice causes, while white Americans were unique for preferring animal-related and military charities.
Donating items is the most popular means of charitable support: food, clothing, and old vehicles.
Hispanic respondents were somewhat more likely to volunteer. Collage Group suggested organizations can offer in-person meet-ups to help align with Hispanics and others who prefer in-person connections.
According to the Collage Group survey, about 66% of those who donated in the last year said they gave to local or community-focused organizations, 46% gave to national organizations, and 21% gave to international organizations. Baby boomers were more likely to support national organizations, while Gen Z and millennials were most likely to give to international organizations.
Survey respondents said the top reasons they gave to an organization included trust that the organization will make a difference, its relevance to “people that I care about,” personal knowledge of someone dealing with a matter the organization addresses, and recommendation by a friend or family member.
A recommendation from a celebrity or influencer was the least likely to factor in their decision, followed by an email or phone solicitation from the organization and the ability to write off a donation on one’s taxes.