New Research: One in Four Americans Have Given in Response to the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis

Two-thirds of those who have not given are considering donating soon

Fidelity Charitable® donors once again tap “ready reserves” in their accounts to provide relief

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#Humanitarian–Three weeks into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one of the largest humanitarian crises since World War II is unfolding. The early days of the crisis has grabbed American attention and inspired many to donate money or to engage in other acts of support. But many people have also felt confused and unsure of how to act on their desire to help.

Fidelity Charitable® conducted a survey among a general population of Americans on March 9, 2022, to understand how they are supporting those affected. Findings highlight not only how rapidly Americans are responding, but how many are primed for a significant and ongoing response. Key takeaways include:

One in four Americans (25%) have opened their wallets in some way in response to the crisis—including donations to charity or other forms of aid.

Currently, donors are primarily concerned for immediate humanitarian needs related to the crisis. Among donors and those who plan to donate soon, top areas of concern are medical support in Ukraine (60%), children’s issues (58%), and short-term humanitarian aid (52%).

Donors were split on whether their motivation was more rooted in feelings that they were actively helping or in feelings of helplessness in the face of the crisis. Thirty-two percent said they gave because their donation will make a difference, while 31% donated because they simply weren’t sure what else to do, while an additional third cited both.

Two-thirds (66%) of those who have not donated say they will or may make a donation in the next few 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 made more than $2.4 billion in donor-recommended grants so far in 2022 to support a broad range of charitable causes—a 29% increase over the same time in 2021.

In 2022, donor grant recommendations to charities in the international affairs sector have grown 83% over the same period in 2021—totaling $147 million.

Each of the 14 most popular charities among Fidelity Charitable donors in March 2022 are working 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 on the part 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. “As the funds have already been dedicated to charity, they are more insulated from pressures such as rising inflation and energy costs, and available to deploy when needed.”

Methodology

Engine Group, an independent research firm, conducted a research study on behalf of Fidelity Charitable about responses to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. 1,006 adults in the U.S. were surveyed on March 9, 2022.

Detailed Survey Findings

One in four Americans (25%) have opened their wallets in some way in response to the crisis—including donations to charity or other forms of aid.

Among those who have taken action, 54% have made a donation to a traditional nonprofit working on the ground in Ukraine or nearby countries, while 26% have given money directly to individuals or families affected by the crisis. Seventy-nine percent have engaged in some other form of economic support, such as purchasing a product with proceeds benefiting Ukraine, purchasing supplies to send to Ukraine, or supporting a Ukrainian business.

Younger Americans are more likely to branch out from traditional giving methods. Twenty-eight percent of Millennials engaged in alternate forms of economic support, compared to 15% of Gen X and 12% of Baby Boomers.

Currently, donors are primarily concerned for immediate humanitarian needs related to the crisis.

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

Donors’ secondary concerns include more long-term areas of work, such as rebuilding Ukraine (33%), providing economic opportunity for refugees (30%), supporting mental health services (28%), and strengthening democracy (19%).

Donors were split on whether their motivation was more rooted in feelings that they were actively helping or in feelings of helplessness in the face of the crisis.

Thirty-two percent said they gave because their donation will make a difference, while 31% say they donated because they simply weren’t sure what else to do, while an additional third cited both.

Two-thirds (66%) of those who have not donated say they will or may make a donation in the next few weeks. But many are held back by concerns.

Eighteen percent of those who haven’t yet made a monetary donation plan to do so, and nearly half (48%) said they might, but aren’t sure yet. Only 34% said they definitely would not give—indicating that most Americans are willing to donate but are waiting to learn more before acting.

Information about where to give is ubiquitous. Of those who have not donated, 43% say they have seen information about how to support those affected by the crisis.

Even so, many say there are concerns holding them back from giving. Those who do not plan to donate or aren’t sure say they are unsure that their donation will reach the intended recipients (29%) or that they want to know more about how their donation will be used (26%). In addition to these concerns, many respondents reported feeling economic pressures in their own lives—often related to current events, such as increasing inflation and rising fuel prices—that leave less discretionary income available for donations.

For more information, view the full report here.

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 357,000 nonprofit organizations with over $61 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow 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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