5 must-know tidbits about high net-worth donors

Upon reading a recent Foundation Center article that summarizes early-release findings from the 2012 Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, I think that we fundraisers and nonprofit leaders have reason to feel optimistic about the future of giving. Here are five tidbits from the survey of 700 high net-worth households that can help to inform our work--and keep us from panicking!

1. Giving may be looking up. Approximately three-quarters of respondents reported that they will either sustain (52%) or increase (24%) their giving levels of the next three to five years. Only 9% plan to reduce their philanthropy moving forward.

2. Education and health care matter most. Of the social issues that respondents said mattered most to them, 60% cited education, 45% cited health care, 38% cited the economy and 34% cited poverty.

3. Interestingly, however, the majority of gifts went to respondents' religious organizations (36%) during 2011, while education received 25% of funds, and health care received just 8%.

4. Perhaps unsurprisingly, roughly half of the respondents make large gift decisions in concert with their partner or spouse. 

5. Timing isn't necessarily everything. 43% of donors reported that they give more during the holidays, yet 44% stated that they make gifts consistently throughout the year.

The complete report will be available on October 30, 2012.

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