Slightly more Americans say they plan to increase giving to charitable causes this year than last year, according to a new national survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

This year, 67 percent of Americans say they plan to give as much or more to charities as they did last year, according to the survey. A year ago, 59 percent of people planned to give the same or more to charity as they did the previous year.

“This may be another indication of not only an improving economy, but of increasing confidence in people’s own economic security,” said Dr. Susan Kinsella, department chair of human services at Saint Leo University.

Thinking about your charitable giving throughout 2014, which of the following best reflects your giving in all of 2014 compared to 2013. Would you say you are…

Dec. 2014

Dec. 2013

18 %

Giving more to charity in 2014 than last year


49 %

Giving about the same to charity in 2014 as last year


14 %

Giving less to charity in 2014 compared to last year


13 %

Have not / will not be giving to charity in 2014


7 %

Don’t know  unsure



Further, the survey was enhanced in 2014 through the addition of two more questions that allowed respondents to identify their motivations for charitable giving. While millions of Americans are motivated to give in part for reasons of faith around the religious holidays at the end of the year, personal ethical beliefs were cited more frequently. And the level of giving correlated strongly to feelings of personal economic security.

Which statement would you say best reflects your feelings when considering charitable giving?

15 %

I am influenced to give by my religious teachings or by my faith leaders’ preaching

49 %

I am influenced to give by my own ethical principles

7 %

I am influenced to give by my family or peers

23 %

I am not really influenced by any of those factors

6 %

Don’t know  unsure


Which of these statements about economic factors best reflects your feelings about charitable giving?

37 %

How much I/we give depends on how confident we are about my/our own economic situation

12 %

How much I/we give depends on how people are faring generally

16 %

How much I/we give depends on a mix of how confident I am/we are personally and how people in general are faring

24 %

How much I/we give doesn’t really vary

11 %

Don’t know  unsure


“Giving is really a personal choice and individuals are influenced by ethical principles over religious teachings by more than a three-to-one margin” commented Dr. Kinsella. “Another factor to consider is that this is the United States and we are known for being a generous country; we don’t hesitate to open our purse strings to help others in need,” she concluded.

The full Saint Leo University Polling Institute national survey results on politics, Pope Francis’ favorability, technology and public policy, and college and professional sports, can be found here: You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.

About the Saint Leo University Polling Institute/Methodology

This Saint Leo University poll of 1,016 adults nationwide was conducted between November 25 and December 6, 2014. The margin of error is approximately 3 percent +/- with a 95 percent confidence level. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allows for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive – usually $1.00 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account – for their participation.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Over its 125-year history, Saint Leo has provided access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.

Today the university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from all 50 states and more than 60 nations. Saint Leo’s 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Throughout these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.

Media Contacts: Kim Payne, staff writer and media coordinator, at or (352) 588-7233/(717) 798-1508 or Jo-Ann Johnston, academic communications manager, at or (352) 588-8237/(352) 467-0843.