By David Ratcliffe, National Philanthropic Practice Expert, U.S. Trust
If you are feeling generous this holiday season, you’re in good company. According to the recently released 2016 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, 90% of high net worth lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) individuals made a charitable donation last year and the future of giving looks bright. LGBT donors reported planning to give as much (59%) or more (31%) in the next three years. They are not only generous with their money, but with their time: 59% of LGBT individuals volunteered vs. 52% of non-LGBT individuals.
Conducted in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the study examines the giving and volunteer trends, behaviors, attitudes and priorities of wealthy American households. This research series is one of the most comprehensive and longest running of its kind and includes for the first time, deeper analysis based on age, gender, sexual orientation and race.
Charitable causes that support arts and culture, animals, the environment, and international issues, in particular caught the hearts and wallets of the community. The study found that on average, LGBT individuals gave to 10 charities, as compared to eight among non-LGBT donors.
High net worth LGBT donors give with passion and purpose. Seventy percent reported giving because they believe in the mission of the organization (vs. 59% of non-LGBT donors). This holds true for their political giving. More LGBT individuals reported giving financially to a political candidate, campaign, or committee in 2015 or to plan to give during the 2016 election season (38% vs. 28% non-LGBT donors). In the same vein, LGBT individuals are nearly twice as likely to believe that voting for a political candidate that shares their ideals on topics important to them has the potential to have a great impact on society.
The study found that many LGBT individuals are intentional in their giving, with 57% reporting having a budget for their charitable gifting. The community gives based on their values, with giving going to organizations they believe can make an impact on society. However, 54% are not sure their giving is having the impact they intended, likely due to the fact that only 18% monitor or evaluate the impact of your giving. If they could better insure that their giving is having the impact they intended through the monitoring of their gift, their impact could be even greater.
This content represents thoughts of the author and does not necessarily represent the position of Bank of America or U.S. Trust.