The School of Philanthropy
Research Studies

The 2012 Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy

Key Findings & Resources
The 2012 Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy

The 2012 Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, in collaboration with Bank of America (in particular U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management), examines the giving patterns, priorities, and attitudes of America’s wealthiest households for the year 2011. This study is the fourth in a series written and researched by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University in partnership with Bank of America, building on previous studies issued in 2006, 2008, and 2010. These studies have set the benchmark for research on the giving practices of high net worth households.

To inform longitudinal tracking of high net worth philanthropic activity, several areas analyzed in this study — giving patterns, perceptions, motivations, decision making, values, traditions, volunteering and demographic dimensions  — build on those examined in the previous studies in this series. In addition, the current study presents new areas of research in order to gain a deeper understanding of the giving patterns of America’s high net worth households. New research themes include donor strategies, giving outcomes, and donors’ sensibilities concerning the current economic and political landscape.

The 2012 study represents a comprehensive analysis of data gathered from a 12-page survey fielded to 20,000 high net worth donors in America’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Only households with incomes greater than $200,000 and/or net worth more than $1,000,000 —excluding the monetary value of their home — were included in this analysis. Slightly more than 700 responding households met the income and wealth criteria for inclusion in this study, which is a national random sample. Average net worth of responding households was $10.7 million.