Research Round Robin: August 2019

We’ve collected another month’s worth of research that interested us and has broad sector relevance. This month’s set is a small one, but still contains important insights on generational philanthropic behavior, charitable giving under 2017 tax reform, and the way public perception can impact funding for different kinds of cancer.

The Millennial Impact Report: 10 Years, Looking Back

The Case Foundation, the organization behind the Millennial Impact Report, has recently drawn from 10 years’ worth of findings from their annual study to uncover how millennials differ from previous generations in one specific arena: philanthropy. They found that three main factors characterize the differences in millennial behavior:

  • They identify more with causes than they do with institutions.
  • They believe incremental contributions can add up to larger social shifts.
  • The preferred way of contributing is not publicly volunteering or donating, except with groups that have earned their trust over time.

In addition to the 10-year perspective, the analysis of this year’s survey of 3,000 millennials summarizes how the rise of social media, crowdfunding, and brands developing their own social conscience has influenced the millennial way of engaging in philanthropic endeavors. The analysis also found that the top causes that millennials care about are civil rights, healthcare affordability, educational access and debt relief, and more equitable employment opportunities.

More on the report:
• How millennials are altering the landscape of social change

The Effects of the 2017 Tax Reform on Itemization Status and the Charitable Deduction

Two researchers recently shared an analysis of IRS data showing steep declines in the number of taxpayers itemizing as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Although the decline of charitable deductions claimed on 2018 taxes correlated with the doubled standard deduction as expected, what was perhaps unexpected, according to the researchers, was that all income groups saw significant reductions in charitable deductions. The decline in charitable deduction dollars claimed wasn’t as steep as the 66% drop in the number of people who itemize. The trend may indicate that many of those who no longer itemize their taxes were not big givers to begin with.

More on the report:
• Share of Taxpayers Claiming Charitable Deduction Plunges to 8.5 Percent, Study Shows

In light of this decline in individual giving, Independent Sector has prepared toolkits (with a bunch of pretty graphics!) to help mobilize networks and lawmakers to take action to fix the tax code by expanding giving incentives to all taxpayers as both a matter of fairness and sound economic policy. Share the messages far and wide using #EveryDonationCounts

Comparison of Cancer Burden and Nonprofit Organization Funding Reveals Disparities in Funding Across Cancer Types

A new study by Northwestern University of $6 billion that flowed into cancer groups found that $1.4 billion of it went to groups linked with specific types of cancer, and that social stigmas impact the funding discrepancies among those different types. For example, breast cancer, leukemia, lymphoma and pediatric cancer nonprofits were well-funded based on three metrics the study considered. But other cancers – like brain, lung, gastrointestinal, and gynecologic cancers – were funded poorly by comparison. The better-funded cancers often have widespread public support and high-profile fundraising, even if other forms of cancer have higher mortality rates, as is the case with lung cancer. Though lung cancer is responsible for four times as many U.S. deaths as breast cancer, the public perception of the disease has struggled since it’s often associated with smoking.

More on the report:
• Nonprofit Cancer Funding Shows Signs of Inequality

Add Your Voice

The research summaries above are by no means an exhaustive list of the newest information out there to help us better understand the nonprofit landscape. So if we missed a report you think we should know and share about, let us know by leaving a comment!

Types: Blog
Global Topics: Data, IS Member, Nonprofit Capital, Public Policy, Race, Equity, and Inclusion, Voices for Good