How Trump Has Changed How We’re Giving To Charity

Democratic giving is up 50%, Republican giving is up 28%.

How Trump Has Changed How We’re Giving To Charity
There’s an obviously partisan battle happening within the charity world. [Photo: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley/Flickr]

In terms of sheer cash contributions, the Trump presidency is turning out to be a boon for philanthropy. The average amount that Democrats intend to donate this year went up 50% during the president’s first 100 days in office. Among Republicans, it jumped 28%.


That’s not to say that all that cash is working together, or in the most effective way to improve the world. In fact, the opposite is happening: There’s an obviously partisan battle happening within the charity world, with the left trying to protect previously established values as the right expands what’s most important to its own constituents.

According to a study by the National Research Group and PMX Agency, a marketing group, Democrats are most interested in advocating for things like women’s rights, the environment, and civil liberties. All of those things have been threatened by Trump’s conservative, regulation-light platform, which is anti-abortion, denies climate change, and supports Muslim bans.

Democrats are planning to up their giving, especially to women’s rights groups. [Image: PMX Agency/National Research Group]
Across the aisle, Republicans appear to feel secure about the economy, so they’re giving more to religious organizations and military and veteran groups, a classic tent pole for support.

Republicans largely support causes related to religion and the military. [Image: PMX Agency/National Research Group]
The ironic part is that even while Republicans are slightly less fired up to give, they’ll likely contribute around 55% more overall, about $2,000 per person this year, compared to $1,300 or so from Democrats.

As the chart below shows, part of that is because of who’s getting fired up. More young donors are now giving—38% of those under 35 years old either gave or plan to give for the first time because of the election. On the whole, young folks also traditionally give less because they have less money, which means a huge spike in intention doesn’t translate into gigantic windfalls.

Democrats are more fired up, but the ones who are aren’t historically big donors. [Image: PMX Agency/National Research Group]
That’s one reason those feeling undervalued tend to protest. It’s a free form of expression, a great equalizer, and probably part of the reason marches have become a hallmark among activist groups in the Trump Era.


The report tracks which administration moves, in particular, have spurred each camp into charitable action. Among Democrats, that includes Trump enacting a rule to block funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortions, the controversial appointments of Scott Pruitt to the EPA and Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education, and actions to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and keep travelers from Muslim countries outside our borders.

Among Republicans, national security actions continue to provide motivation, including the U.S. military strike in Syria, that same Muslim ban, and actions to build the Mexico border wall that lead to more giving.

You can read the full report here.

About the author

Ben Paynter is a senior writer at Fast Company covering social impact, the future of philanthropy, and innovative food companies. His work has appeared in Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times, among other places.