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New Research: One in Four Americans Donated in Response to Ukraine’s Humanitarian Crisis

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Three weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one of the greatest humanitarian crises since World War II is unfolding. The early days of the crisis caught the attention of Americans and inspired many to donate money or engage in other acts of support. But many people also felt confused and unsure how to follow through on their desire to help.

Fidelity Charitable® conducted a survey of a general population of Americans on March 9, 2022, to understand how they support those affected. Results highlight not only how quickly Americans are responding, but how many are ready for a meaningful and continued response. Main takeaways include:

  • One in four Americans (25%) opened their wallets in some way in response to the crisis, including donating to charity or other forms of assistance.
  • Currently, donors are mainly concerned with the immediate humanitarian needs linked to the crisis. Among donors and those planning to donate soon, the main areas of concern are medical support in Ukraine (60%), children’s issues (58%) and short-term humanitarian aid (52%).
  • Donors were divided on whether their motivation was more rooted in feeling they were actively helping or in a sense of helplessness in the face of crisis. Thirty-two percent said they gave because their donation would make a difference, while 31% donated because they simply didn’t know what else to do, while a further third cited both .
  • Two-thirds (66%) of those who have not donated say they will or might donate in the coming weeks.

The outpouring of support from Fidelity Charitable donors echoes how they have responded to the pandemic, natural disasters, racial injustice and other immediate needs over the past two years.

  • Fidelity Charitable has awarded more than $2.4 billion in donor-recommended grants so far in 2022 to support a wide range of charitable causes, a 29% increase over the same period in 2021.

  • In 2022, donor grant recommendations to charities in the international business sector increased by 83% over the same period in 2021, totaling $147 million.

  • Each of the 14 most popular charities among Fidelity Charitable donors in March 2022 works to support those affected by the Ukraine crisis. Topping the list, World Central Kitchen, Doctors Without Borders USA and the United States Fund for UNICEF each received support from more than 1,900 donor-advised funds in the first two weeks of March.

  • “This outpouring of generosity reflects both the deep motivations of our donors to help and the power of a donor-advised fund to serve as a ready reserve,” said Kristen Robinson, chief operating officer at Fidelity Charitable. “Because the funds have already been spent on charity, they are more insulated from pressures such as rising inflation and energy costs, and available to be deployed when needed.”

Methodology

Engine Group, an independent research company, conducted a research study for Fidelity Charitable on responses to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. 1,006 adults in the United States were surveyed on March 9, 2022.

Detailed survey results

One in four Americans (25%) opened their wallets in some way in response to the crisis, including donating to charity or other forms of assistance.

  • Among those who took action, 54% made a donation to a traditional association working on the ground in Ukraine or neighboring countries, while 26% gave money directly to individuals or families affected by the crisis. Seventy-nine percent engaged in some other form of economic support, such as buying a product whose proceeds benefit Ukraine, buying supplies to send to Ukraine, or supporting a Ukrainian company.

    • Young Americans are more likely to shy away from traditional giving methods. Twenty-eight percent of millennials have relied on other forms of economic support, compared to 15% of Gen Xers and 12% of baby boomers.

Currently, donors are mainly concerned with the immediate humanitarian needs linked to the crisis.

  • Among donors and those planning to donate soon, the main areas of concern are medical support in Ukraine (60%), children’s issues (58%) and short-term humanitarian aid (52%).

  • Secondary donor concerns include longer-term areas of work, such as rebuilding Ukraine (33%), providing economic opportunities for refugees (30%), supporting mental health services ( 28%) and strengthening democracy (19%).

Donors were divided on whether their motivation was more rooted in feeling they were actively helping or in a sense of helplessness in the face of crisis.

  • Thirty-two percent said they gave because their donation would make a difference, while 31% said they gave because they simply didn’t know what else to do, while a further third cited both .

Two-thirds (66%) of those who have not donated say they will or might donate in the coming weeks. But many are held back by worries.

  • Eighteen percent of those who have not yet made a financial donation are considering doing so, and almost half (48%) said they might, but are not sure yet. Only 34% said they would definitely not donate, indicating that most Americans are willing to donate but are waiting to hear more before taking action.

  • Information on where to donate is everywhere. Of those who have not donated, 43% say they have seen information on how to support those affected by the crisis.

  • Even so, many say worries keep them from giving. Those who have no intention of donating or are unsure say they are unsure whether their donation will reach the intended recipients (29%) or want to know more about how their donation will be used (26%). In addition to these concerns, many respondents said they feel economic pressures in their own lives – often related to current events, such as rising inflation and rising fuel prices – that leave less discretionary income available for donations.

For more information, see the full report here.

About Fidelity Charity

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 357,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $61 billion in grants. Founded in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-driven fund program. The organization’s mission is to expand the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit www.fidelitycharitable.org.

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