Americans More Likely to Donate Money, Not Time, to Charities

by Joseph Carroll

Fourteen percent of Americans have given blood in the past year

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's annual Lifestyle survey finds that most Americans say they have donated money to a charity in the past year, but fewer have volunteered their time for charitable causes. Americans are more likely to say they have donated their money or time to non-religious charities than to charities affiliated with a religion. One in seven Americans say they have donated blood in the past year. Charitable contributions vary by household income levels, church attendance, and age.

The poll, conducted Dec. 5-8, 2005, finds that nearly 9 in 10 Americans say they have donated money to a charity in the past year, including 11% who donated money to a religious organization, 23% who donated money to a non-religious charitable cause, and 54% who donated money to both. Sixty-two percent of Americans say they have volunteered their time for a charity in the past year, including 15% who donated their time to a religious organization, 20% who volunteered for a non-religious charitable cause, and 27% who volunteered for both.

Fourteen percent of Americans say they gave blood in the past year. In 2001, about two months after the September 11th terrorist attacks, 21% of Americans said they gave blood. This dropped to 15% in 2003 and remains at that level now.

Giving by Household Income Levels

The data show that giving -- both in monetary donations and in donations of time -- is related to household income. Americans residing in higher-income households are much more likely to donate money and volunteer their time to charitable causes.

Among those earning $75,000 or more per year, 96% say they donated money to a charity last year. This is lower among those earning between $30,000 and $75,000 per year, at 90%, and those earning less than $30,000 per year, at 74%. Likewise, 76% of those earning $75,000 or more per year volunteered their time for a cause last year, while 61% of those earning between $30,000 and $75,000 per year and 52% of those earning less than $30,000 per year, did so.

Reports of giving blood show only modest variation by household income level, with 18% of those earning $75,000 or more per year, 14% of those earning between $30,000 and $75,000 per year, and 11% of those earning less than $30,000 per year saying they have given blood.

Church Attendance and Charitable Giving

Americans who go to church weekly are not substantially more likely to give money to charities, but they are more likely to volunteer their time for causes. Frequent churchgoers are also much more inclined to give to religious rather than non-religious groups.

Overall, 93% of weekly or nearly weekly churchgoers say they donated money to a charity, compared with 82% of those who seldom or never go to church. However, more than three in four weekly churchgoers (79%) say they volunteered their time for a charity in the past year, while fewer than half of those who rarely or never attend church (47%) say they volunteered their time.

Frequent churchgoers are substantially more likely than those who seldom or never attend services to donate their money (89% vs. 36%, respectively) or time (72% vs. 13%) to religious organizations. However, there are only modest variations between these two groups for contributing money (79% vs. 75%) or time (54% vs. 41%) for non-religious charities.

Charitable Giving by Church Attendance
Dec. 5-8, 2005
(based on percentage who said yes)

Weekly churchgoers

Monthly churchgoers

Those who seldom or never go to church

%

%

%

Donated money to a religious organization

89

84

36

Donated money to any other charitable cause

79

75

75

Volunteered your time to a religious group or organization

72

48

13

Volunteered your time to any other charitable cause

54

49

41

Giving and Age

The poll shows that middle-aged Americans are slightly more likely than young adults or seniors to donate money to charities, and seniors are much less likely than those who are younger to volunteer their time for charitable causes.

Seventy-nine percent of 18- to 29-year olds say they donated money to a charity last year, while 93% of 30- to 49-year olds, 88% of 50- to 64-year olds, and 83% of those aged 65 and older donated money. At least 6 in 10 Americans under age 65 report that they volunteered their time for a charitable cause in the past year. Only 45% of those aged 65 and older say they volunteered last year.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,013 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 5-8, 2005. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

19. Which of the following things, if any, have you, personally, done in the past 12 months? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. Donated money to a religious organization

Yes

No

No answer

%

%

%

2005 Dec 5-8

64

35

1

2003 Dec 11-14

60

40

*

2001 Dec 6-9

62

38

*

* = Less than 0.5%

B. Donated money to any other charitable cause

Yes

No

No answer

%

%

%

2005 Dec 5-8

76

24

*

2003 Dec 11-14

71

29

*

2001 Dec 6-9

79

21

*

* = Less than 0.5%

C. Volunteered your time to a religious group or organization

Yes

No

No answer

%

%

%

2005 Dec 5-8

43

57

*

2003 Dec 11-14

42

58

*

2001 Dec 6-9

41

59

*

* = Less than 0.5%

D. Volunteered your time to any other charitable cause

Yes

No

No answer

%

%

%

2005 Dec 5-8

47

53

*

2003 Dec 11-14

43

57

*

2001 Dec 6-9

44

56

*

* = Less than 0.5%

E. Given blood

Yes

No

No answer

%

%

%

2005 Dec 5-8

14

86

*

2003 Dec 11-14

15

85

*

2001 Dec 6-9

21

79

*

* = Less than 0.5%

Get Articles in Related Topics:


Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/21430/Americans-More-Likely-Donate-Money-Time-Charities.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030