November 05, 2010

A Growing Number of Americans Don't Give to Charity, Poll Finds

More and more Americans have stopped donating to charities because of the bad economy, and many do not feel any personal responsibility to be involved with efforts to make the world a better place, a new survey has found.

The percentage of people who said they are not making any charitable donations doubled to 12 percent this year, up from 6 percent in 2009, according to an online survey by Harris Interactive of 2,620 adults conducted in September.

A third of Americans said they were willing to get "extremely involved" or "give generously" to charities, but 13 percent said they give neither time nor money.

Many of those who do give said they are contributing smaller amounts (31 percent) and to fewer organizations (19 percent) this year. Eleven percent said they are volunteering more this year than last year, when only 9 percent volunteered.

Just a quarter of those surveyed said they felt some responsibility to improve the world they live in, versus 31 percent who felt the same way in 2007, when the question was last asked.

Nearly four out of ten surveyed use social-networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to follow a cause online and take action. A majority in this group, 54 percent, said they have talked to a friend or a family member about an organization after following it on a social network, and a third have contacted an elected official. In addition, three out of ten have donated to such an organization, while 23 percent have donated to a cause the organization supports or have attended one of its events.