Research Finds Americans Overwhelmingly United in Support of Charitable Sector

Polling data commissioned by Independent Sector finds American voters trust and value the role of the charitable sector; encourages government to use their expertise

(WASHINGTON, September 22, 2016) – Three out of four Americans support the charitable sector having a bigger role working with the federal government to produce more effective and efficient solutions to problems, according to a new national poll released today by Independent Sector.

The research, which included two voter focus groups as well as a national phone survey of 1,300 voters, is summarized in a new report, United for Charity released on the IS website today and presented at a Congressional briefing this morning.

The findings include the following:

  • 70 percent voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports policies that help the charitable sector become more involved in government policy making
  • 74 percent trust charities with their checkbooks over the federal government and want to see expanded access to charitable giving
  • 87 percent of voters believe policymakers should work with the charitable sector as experts in their fields

“Americans overwhelmingly trust and value the charitable community,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “We feel strongly that this data underscores that individuals and organizations in the charitable sector need to speak up more to encourage policy changes that positively affect their communities. Conversely, policymakers should be listening and collaborating with the charitable sector to solve our country’s most challenging problems.”

The polling also found that Americans believe strongly in encouraging charitable giving by individuals and expanding our current rules. In fact, 88 percent of the voters polled believe we should make it easier for people to deduct charitable contributions from their taxes. Since the charitable income tax deduction was first created in 1917, America’s tax system has encouraged individuals and families to contribute to charitable organizations that have fueled improvements to the education system, expanded access to health care, advanced scientific and medical research, deepened our appreciation of history and cultural heritage, and helped our neighbors both near and far. Currently, this deduction is only available to 35 percent of Americans who itemize their tax deductions.

Independent Sector has already shared this information with both presidential campaigns and will continue to use it as we educate policymakers on American people’s support of the charitable community.

For more information about this data, including the full report, visit


Independent Sector is the leadership forum for nonprofits, foundations, and corporations whose member networks collectively represent tens of thousands of organizations locally, nationally, and globally. Learn more at

Types: Press Release
Global Topics: Data, Election