62% of parents talk about philanthropy with their kids

Written on Nov 27, 2017

Parental guidance extends to charitable giving and volunteerism, with 62% of American parents discussing the topics with their children, according to a study by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.

The National Survey on Charitable Giving Findings Report is based on survey data from 1,004 American parents. It found that houses of worship were the leading prompt for discussing charities with children (44%), followed by school projects (41%), family or friends (41%), a news story (40%), and social media (33%). Men surveyed were more likely to talk about charities with their children than women, 66% to 58%.

Human services charities, such as soup kitchens and shelters, are the most common types of organizations parents discuss with their children at 60%. Disaster relief (58%), animal welfare and protection (49%), and health (39%) causes follow close behind. When asked what one type of organization they would speak with their children about, parents came to similar results with human services again leading the way at 29% followed by animal welfare and protection (17%), disaster relief (11%), and religion (11%).

At the generation level, Millennials are the most likely to discuss various types of charitable organizations with their children across all sectors, despite 18% reporting that their children are too young to discuss charitable giving or volunteerism. In the battle for second place, Gen Xers rank ahead of Baby Boomers in speaking to their children about health (36% to 34%) and environmental (27% to 25%) organizations. Baby Boomers are more likely than Gen Xers to discuss disaster relief (63% to 51%), human services (59% to 55%) and animal welfare (50% to 45%) groups with their children.

The study, in addition to discussing parental behaviors, also looks into the likelihood that individuals research charities before giving. More than two-fifths (41%) of respondents stated that they seek out information every time they give, while 34% stated that they sometimes check and 14% never research. Millennials (79%) are far more likely to research charities at least some of the time as compared to Gen Xers (59%) and Baby Boomers (56%).

Men are more likely than women to check in on charities every time before they give (46% to 36%), while women are more likely to never check (17% to 11%).

Additional findings:

  • Over half (55%) of respondents reported giving to hurricane relief efforts this year. Men were more likely to give to hurricane relief efforts than women, 59% to 51%, and were more likely to research before donating, 70% to 60%.
  • Millennials (60%) were more likely to donate to hurricane-relief causes than Gen Xers (54%) and Baby Boomers (52%).
  • Donors in the Northeast (58%) were the most likely to give to hurricane relief followed by donors in the South (55%), Midwest (55%), and West (52%).

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