1 of 5 Experienced Donors Cite Political and Regulatory Environment as Impacting 2017 Giving Choices

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1 of 5 experienced donors cite political and regulatory environment as impacting 2017 giving choices. New survey by Exponent Philanthropy shows almost half (45%) of respondents expect to give more dollars in 2017

As the 2017 giving season gets under way, a new survey by Exponent Philanthropy shows that 45% of experienced donors expect to give more dollars this year than in 2016, while only 7% of respondents expect to give less. Of the 480 people who participated in the survey, a fifth (19%) cited the political and regulatory environment as impacting their 2017 giving. Issued in early September to Exponent Philanthropy’s members, the informal “Pulse Check” survey looks at anticipated personal giving behavior in 2017 and the primary factors that drive charitable decision-making.

Asked about what factors are contributing to their 2017 giving decisions, respondents cited:

  •     Community needs (43%)
  •     Market performance (31%)
  •     Desire to maximize impact (28%)
  •     Political/regulatory environment (19%)

These findings were consistent with a late April “Pulse Check” in which 22% of the same population said they “expect to make changes to their 2017 giving as a direct result of recent changes in Washington.”

“We are not surprised to see that charitable giving will increase in 2017 given the performance of financial markets and a preponderance of need both domestically and abroad,” commented, Henry L. Berman, Exponent Philanthropy’s chief executive officer. “That said, it’s clear that all the factors that have made 2017 anything but a normal year is figuring into our members’ giving – across the political spectrum – and that many are responding by stepping up their giving. While this “Pulse Check” examined personal giving, looking ahead, the robust markets of 2017 suggest foundation giving should be up and provide more funds for societal benefit.”

Other findings from the survey include:


Despite an ever-changing landscape of societal need and funding outlets, experienced donors prefer to give to institutions and nonprofits where an existing connection exists. Less than 3% of respondents said they would be "mostly giving to organizations not previously supported.”


One third (32%) of survey respondents will be giving at least half of their full annual giving during the last two months of the year, while an additional 27% will be giving between 26-50% of their giving in November and December.

Exponent Philanthropy’s Pulse Check surveys are internal yardsticks used by the organization to gauge membership opinions on important and timely topics. Information is collected anonymously and the full surveys are neither published nor available for dissemination to the public. On occasion, Exponent Philanthropy will publicly share findings from its surveys when the topics/findings are deemed relevant and useful to the philanthropy sector at large. Exponent Philanthropy is a non-partisan organization with nearly 2,000 members from across the United States.

About Exponent Philanthropy (http://www.exponentphilanthropy.org)
Exponent Philanthropy is the country’s largest association of funders—nearly 2,000 members strong—and the only one dedicated to serving foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors. Its vibrant network has in common lean operations and a style of philanthropy motivated by personal passion, community needs, and the strong desire for better outcomes. Exponent Philanthropy provides high-quality and cost-effective programs, resources, and connections that maximize members’ dollars and time for the benefit of diverse communities and causes.

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Jeanne Metzger
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