Are The Affluent Still Giving Back?

Huge Majority of Upscale Americans Still Contributing and in Many Different Ways

Friday, February 06, 2009

New York, NY – Are Americans at the higher end of the economic ladder continuing to share their wealth with others less fortunate? A recent Mendelsohn Affluent Poll set out to find out. As a follow-up to its well-known and well-respected Mendelsohn Affluent Survey (soon to be fielded for its 33rd consecutive year), Ipsos Mendelsohn recently conducted an online poll among affluent adults at year-end 2008. In it, some 500 people in households with household incomes of $100,000 or more were asked about their recent charitable donations.

Towards helping to rectify social ills, a huge majority of affluent Americans continue to make charitable contributions. In fact, this Mendelsohn Affluent Poll found that 89% of upscale respondents made a contribution/donation to a non-profit organization in the past 12 months. And that rate rose among men and both of the older and higher income segments (specifically, 91% for men; almost 90% for ages 50+; and over 95% for those with household incomes over $200K).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Poll conducted December 29-31, 2008. For the survey, a national sample of 498 adults aged 18 and older with a household income of $100,000 per year or more from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. Weighting and sample balancing were employed to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual U.S. adult population with annual HHI of $100K+ according to U.S. Census data.

Affluent Donations Take Many Forms

The more financially comfortable respondents of this survey said they made donations by numerous methods. Overall, the top five ways affluent Americans “gave back” were:

  • Donating clothing or other household items
  • Giving money as a one-time contribution
  • Making an in-kind donation such as food or clothing
  • Donating time or volunteering
  • Giving money via a religious organization

The difference seen between the rankings given by men and women was not significant. However, compared to the overall affluent average, men opted in higher numbers to give money (76% vs 67%). Contrarily, affluent men’s rates were below average when donating clothing (79% vs 83%) and making in-kind gifts (53% vs 58%).

Age and Income Breaks Alter Charitable Commitments

While there were fluctuations in how different age and income groups responded to these charitable options, in general, rates of participation dipped for several among the younger and relatively lower income groups.

However, the youngest age group (adults 18-34) did surpass the affluent norm in donating clothing (86% vs 83%) and making in-kind gifts (61% vs 58%). Still, and of special note, a large disparity was seen in contributions to religious organizations. Whereas 46% of the overall affluent group said they donated in this manner (and 44% of the lowest income group did too), just 6% of those aged 18-34 said they fulfilled any such obligation.

In summary, this recent Mendelsohn Affluent Poll shines a light on the variety of ways today’s affluent citizens are actively giving back. Moreover, this survey confirms their overall desire in great numbers to lessen some of the negative impact of the current economic climate by helping others less fortunate than themselves.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Richard Vogt
Vice President
Ipsos Mendelsohn
(212) 677-8100

About Ipsos Mendelsohn
Ipsos Mendelsohn, a division of Ipsos MediaCT (and formerly known as Monroe Mendelsohn Research), is an internationally recognized, full-service media research company headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1958 to provide marketing consultation and conduct custom marketing research surveys, the company has expanded beyond the custom research services it had initially been providing and now also syndicates two of America’s well-known, respected and innovative media surveys (The Mendelsohn Affluent Survey and Business Elite: USA). These syndicated surveys are used by hundreds of advertisers, agencies, and the media (magazines, newspapers, cable television networks, media companies, etc.) in their communications planning and buying activities. Conscientiousness, integrity, objectivity, intelligence and the relevant experience of senior researchers are hallmarks of all Ipsos Mendelsohn media research services.

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Are The Affluent Still Giving Back?

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Richard Vogt
Vice President
Ipsos Mendelsohn