Slightly more than two-thirds of Americans say they plan to give at least as much to charity in 2014 as they did last year, according to a new national survey conducted by the Polling Institute at Saint Leo University.
The level represents an increase of eight percentage points over the comparable figure last year, when 59 percent of Americans said they intended to match or exceed their donations from the previous year.
Eighteen percent of those polled in 2014 said they would give more this year; 49 percent said they would give about the same; 14 percent said they would give less; 13 percent said they don’t plan to give; and 7 percent said they had not yet decided whether or how much to give.
Nearly half — 49 percent — of respondents reported that they base their decisions on giving to charity more on their own "own ethical principles" than on influences of family, peers, or religious teachings. Religion was cited as the most influential factor by 15 percent, and 23 percent said none of those options describe what influences them in making donations.
Susan Kinsella, department chair of human services at Saint Leo University, said the results may indicate increasing economic confidence because more than a third of those in the poll said they based their giving decisions on confidence in their own economic situation.
Other data suggest a different prevailing attitude. According to McKinsey’s recently released Consumer Sentiment Survey for 2014, consumer confidence about personal finances and the U.S. economy has stabilized but still remains low. Among those polled, 23 percent said they are confident about the nation’s economy, up four percentage points from 2013.