- The wealthy are giving less of a share of their income to charity, according to analysis by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
- “Americans’ Interest In Volunteering And Charity Is Precipitously Declining,” as reported in Forbes. based on a study by the YMCA.
- Closer to home for me, “Bay Area ranks near bottom in charitable giving, report says,” as reported by Kathleen Pender on SFGate, regarding the same Chronicle of Philanthropy analysis.
Gack. What is going on? Is charitable fatigue actually an infectious virus?
The YMCA puts it down to a sense that the country hasn’t pulled out of the Recession as quickly as anticipated, and thus people are throwing up their hands and figuring it’s up to governments and larger groups to take the lead.
Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, told Pender that, “The rich were more affected by the stock market crash than other income groups, and that might be why they were slow to step up giving as a percent of income.”
But I wonder also whether the barrage of donation requests that we get via email and social media is introducing a new type of fatigue. Admittedly, I’m basing this on a sample of one: me. But every morning, I receive such a long list of email solicitations that I have to delete them without opening if I’m going to get to work before everyone leaves for lunch. All those Bay Area folks on their smartphones are pretty quick to hit the delete button, too.
It takes something exciting and different to make someone navigating the online world — an increasingly important forum for charitable solicitation — pay attention. Something like, perhaps, that ALS ice bucket challenge, which raised about $115 million before finally winding down.