The Chronicle of Philanthropy finds a high level of distrust among contributors when it comes to how charities handle funds.
Almost by definition, philanthropic organizations depend on financial contributions in order to survive. Many Americans donate regularly to philanthropic causes, with only a tax deduction to come from it.
But there is a significant lack of confidence in charities to spend the money wisely or to avoid controversial fund distribution.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy conducted its first study in seven years on the confidence of Americans in charity organizations. It found that 62 percent of Americans claim to have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in charities. That is 2 percent lower than when the last study was done in 2008, and conversely shows that 38 percent of Americans have a tenuous confidence in charities.
(The Chronicle poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. One thousand adults were asked several questions identical to the questions asked in 2008).
According to Spectrem’s wealth segmentation study Asset Allocation, Portfolios and Primary Advisors, 93 percent of investors with a net worth of $5 million to $25 million give to charities annually. Twelve percent give at least $25,000 a year, and 6 percent give at least $50,000 annually.
From an occupational segment standpoint, managers are more likely to give the most money to charity (more so than Professionals like doctors and lawyers, Senior Corporate Executives or Business Owners).
The most positive number reflects the opinion of the positive work charities do. More than 80 percent said charities do a very good or somewhat good job helping people. But the negative numbers reflect a concern about how charities spend their money, with 41 percent saying charity leaders get paid too much.
While 25 percent of respondents aid charities do a “very good’’ job helping others, that percentage has fallen from 34 percent a dozen years ago.
When it comes to spending charitable contributions, 37 percent said charities spend too much on salaries and other administrative costs. Eleven percent said charities spend too much money on advertising.
The key factors in terms of giving were evidence a charity’s programs actually work (68 percent), the charity gets good ratings from watchdogs (54 percent), the charity is involved in concerns that have affected a donor’s family (39 percent), and the charity only asks for money occasionally as opposed to frequently (27 percent).
Young people had a higher opinion of charities than older ones. Sixty-percent of survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said they had a high level of confidence in charities to just 54 percent of people aged 65 and older. Women were more confident than men and college graduates gave higher grades than those with just some college.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.