What Americans Think About Philanthropy and Nonprofits

Apr 06, 2023 | by
  • Description

The United States is "diversifying even faster than predicted" across multiple facets of society (Frey, 2020), especially race, ethnicity, and age. The 2020 census revealed increased diversity in every state and larger ethnic, racial minority, young, and aging populations across the country (Henderson, 2021). These demographic changes have implications for the nonprofit sector at every level, including building a more diverse donor base, addressing representation in the leadership of nonprofits, and managing complex needs and interests on the service side of the nonprofit equation.

Despite philanthropy's long, deep traditions and importance to many Americans, recent data trends have surfaced that have rekindled concerns about the health of the sector. Two such challenges are the declining number of donors and the general decline in trust in all institutions.

Our report seeks to examine the general attitudes and perceptions of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, including assessing the extent to which current debates within the field play out in public today.

After summarizing the key questions and findings addressed in this report, we provide an overview of the data and methods used in the study and discuss background information on the major critiques of philanthropy. The body of the report dives deeper into the key questions and findings before concluding with a discussion of the impact of these findings for practitioners and scholars.