April 15, 2019…a very bad day. Not only is it Tax Day, which makes it an unpleasant day at the outset, but also the beautiful historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is burning to the ground. As someone who was lucky enough to have visited Notre Dame, my heart is heavy. I’m sure there are millions of others who feel similarly and wish there was something that could be done.
The wealthy households that Spectrem Group interviews on a monthly basis are very generous with their assets. Almost a quarter of households with between $100,000 to $25 million of net worth donate $1,000 to $2,499 to charitable causes each year. Fifteen percent donate $5,000 to $9,999 and another 15% donate more than $10,000 per year annually. When multiplied by the number of affluent households in the U.S. (there are more than 10 million Millionaires nationwide), these donations represent a significant amount of assets.
Why do people donate to charitable causes? More than sixty percent of investors indicate they donate because of a personal sense of social responsibility. And despite our perceptions that Millennials are the virtuous generation, that sense of personal responsibility increases with age with 66% of WWII generation investors responding in this manner compared to 46% of Millennials. Sixty percent of investors donate to those causes in which they are most passionate or interested.
How does all of this relate to watching Notre Dame burn? Forty three percent of investors donate due to their faith or their religion. The type of organization most likely to receive their donations is a Religious organization at approximately 35%. Social service organizations, which are the second most common recipients of charitable contributions, fall far behind at 20%. It’s important to note that 54% of individuals donate to the same organizations annually. If you have any interest in this data it is in our new report called The Charitable Giving Habits of Wealthy Investors.
In recent years it would be easy to believe that religion is no longer important in America. Yet the amount of investors that donate to charitable causes remains very high. Clearly religion is still something that many individuals care about very deeply. There will be an abundance of generosity dedicated to restoring Notre Dame – if it is even possible. Most of what has been lost is, unfortunately, priceless.
And as we watch Notre Dame burn, most Americans – regardless of their religious faith – must feel an incredible sadness. As Cardinal Dolan said today, “It is hard to find a church that represents spiritual love more than the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris”. It is especially hard when it occurs during Holy Week for those of the Christian faith. God Bless, Paris – and all of us – as we watch a symbol of faith crumble.
© 2019 Spectrem Group