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Report: Fewer Americans Are Donating to Charity

A new report released by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Vanguard Charitable shows that the number of Americans who donate to charity has dramatically decreased in recent years.

The report, titled “Changes to the Giving Landscape,” reveals that 53% of Americans gave to charity in 2016, down from 66% in 2000. Put another way, approximately 20 million fewer households are donating to charity than they did 20 years ago.

“This shift is due to lower-income and lower-wealth Americans experiencing the slowest economic recovery since the Great Recession, during years when the cost of other items such as food, education, and healthcare have increased,” said Vanguard Charitable President Jane Greenfield. “This has led to a decrease in the share of income available to give to charity.”

The authors of the report noted that millennials in particular are less likely to give to charity than older generations, which is likely due to having “the misfortune of entering the workforce during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

Data shows that baby boomers and those belonging to Generation X, for example, gave more to charity over time as their income increased. However, the same did not hold true for millennials.

“There’s a general trajectory that as you get older your income grows and your giving grows,” said Una Osili, co-author of the report and associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly School. “With millennials we haven’t seen that same pattern.”

But that’s not the only reason Americans are giving less. The other big factor is religion.

Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center show 26% of Americans now identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular,” compared to 17% in 2009. Why does that matter? Because researchers at Baylor University found that religious people are more likely to give to charity.

“Religious organizations have traditionally gotten the lion’s share of Americans’ charitable dollars,” MarketWatch notes.

Click here to read the full report.

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News

Report: Millennial Entrepreneurs Give More Than Older Entrepreneurs

A new report from Fidelity Charitable found that there is a huge generosity gap among different generations of entrepreneurs.

The report, titled Entrepreneurs as Philanthropists, concluded that Millennial entrepreneurs volunteer and give significantly more than their older counterparts. These findings are based on a 2018 survey of 3,000 American adults, over 700 of which were current or former business owners.

Results from the survey showed that the average Millennial entrepreneur donated $13,654 in 2017. That’s more than double that of Gen Xers ($6,200) and Baby Boomers ($6,192).

“The philanthropic landscape is changing, and our research shows that Millennial entrepreneurs are shaping a new way for charitable giving,” said Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable. “Millennials want to feel a connection to causes they care about. While these characteristics are not limited just to the entrepreneurs of the Millennial generation, their practical impacts on philanthropy become more pronounced through the lens of entrepreneurship.”

Survey results also indicate that Millennial business owners take a vastly different approach to business and philanthropy. For example, 80 percent of Millennial entrepreneurs said that giving is very important, compared to just 57 percent of Gen Xers and 48 percent of Baby Boomers.

Millennial entrepreneurs also placed a higher emphasis on becoming actively involved with the causes they support. More than half viewed volunteering as an opportunity to learn new skills, versus only 33 percent of Gen Xers and 20 percent of Baby Boomers.

And while Millennial entrepreneurs have proven to be the most generous of the generations, that’s not to say that the contributions of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers should be downplayed or overlooked.

“We know that entrepreneurs are committed and effective philanthropists,” Norley stated. “While different generations may approach philanthropy with varying attitudes, behaviors and values, the unique giving behaviors of entrepreneurs will continue to make an outsized impact on the causes they support. Regardless of generation, entrepreneurs will continue to be a driving force for philanthropy in the world.”

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Report: Former Muslim Aid Trustees Mismanaged Charity

One of Britain’s largest charities, Muslim Aid, is at the center of a scandal.

A recent investigation by the U.K. Charity Commission revealed that former trustees seriously mismanaged the organization’s resources. According to The Times, Muslim Aid has an annual budget of £34 million.

“The concerns were originally dealt with as part of a regulatory compliance case,” the commission said in a statement. “But the commission’s engagement escalated when the charity’s own reassurances to the regulator served instead to highlight the sheer scale of concerns about the charity’s financial management, specifically its due diligence, monitoring, and oversight of its field offices.”

According to nonprofit news source Third Sector, the commission was also concerned that the charity was unintentionally funding a terrorist group due to a lack of proper checks. However, further inquiry proved that wasn’t the case.

The report concluded:

“The then board of trustees fell short of the standards required and expected, particularly of a large, well-known and trusted charity with substantial operations and reach.

“The then board of trustees did not meet with their duties to act with reasonable care and skill and fell short of their responsibilities under charity law.”

The report did note, however, that significant improvements have been made ever since Jehangir Malik was appointed CEO in September 2016. In a statement, Malik reassured the public that the charity is back on the right track:

“After a challenging period, the board and the senior leadership team have initiated a new governance structure that has put in place model checks and balances to ensure the highest of professional operating standards.

“Muslim Aid has a 30-year legacy of excellent field work, serving humanity. This is a strong foundation and the improvements put in place, under the supervision of this inquiry process, will ensure that the future of the charity is robust.

“Muslim Aid has emerged a more transparent organization, more fit for purpose for the current strategic requirements of donors and beneficiaries alike. Muslim Aid is entering an exciting new phase.”

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Resources

4 Different Ways to Report a Scam Charity

If you suspect that a charity is fake or corrupt, there are several different ways to go about reporting it. The following comprises a list of your different options.

1. Report it to the IRS

The IRS is responsible for overseeing all charities on a federal level. The good news is that there are multiple ways to file a complaint through the IRS. You can even submit an anonymous tip should you so choose. Here are your options:

2. Notify the State

Depending on which state you live in, either the Attorney General or the Secretary of State will be responsible for overseeing nonprofit regulation. To find your state’s Attorney General, click here. To find your Secretary of State, click here.

3. Inform Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator is a watchdog organization that publishes an ongoing advisory list. This list assesses each charity’s concern/risk level. To submit a claim to Charity Navigator, send an email to cnadvisory@charitynavigator.org. Charity Navigator asks that you provide substantial evidence to support your claim.

4. Contact Your Local News Outlet

Most news outlets have a special team of investigative journalists that will look into your claims should you have reason to believe that a charity is engaging in unethical practices. Better yet, these journalists will protect your identity should you choose to remain anonymous. This is a great option if you want to inform the public about the organization’s unlawful activity.

Now that you have a list of options in front of you, it’s time to start compiling your evidence so that you can report the suspicious activity. Remember: the longer you wait, the more people will be taken advantage of.