New study reveals Americans choose to generously give to others

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While nine in 10 Americans regularly donate to charitable causes, a new survey indicates that women are more likely to give than men, and that older Americans are more generous with their cash than their younger counterparts - who prefer to volunteer time rather than write a check.

The telephone survey, commissioned in July by SunTrust Bank, polled 2,058 adults over the age of 18 to gauge public opinions and beliefs about charitable giving in the U.S.

According to the survey, respondents were also most likely to support causes relating to their church or other religious organization (53 percent); to organizations that combat hunger and poverty (50 percent); or to provide disaster relief from hurricanes and other natural catastrophes (48 percent). The non-profit organizations least likely to receive donations from survey respondents were those supporting animal causes (32 percent); environmental issues (25 percent); or the arts and culture (21 percent).

The SunTrust "My Cause" poll coincides with the bank's new promotion that offers certain clients the opportunity to have SunTrust Bank make a donation in their name to their favorite charity or receive a gift card for their own personal use.

When asked, more than half of respondents (59 percent) said they would prefer to give the donation to charity rather than get the cash (33 percent) for themselves.

"The survey answered many questions we had about charitable giving as we launched the 'My Cause' promotion," said SunTrust Corporate Executive Vice President Gene Kirby, head of the Company's Retail and Commercial Banking lines of business. "We are encouraged by how widespread charitable giving is, and we are delighted that more than half of those asked would choose to give back to their communities and help others. That says a lot about the generosity of Americans today."

The survey also found that most Americans don't have an "either/or" approach to supporting their favorite causes: Those who had made recent monetary donations to charity are also significantly more likely (94 percent) to support non-profit organizations in other ways than those who haven't donated recently (74 percent).

Younger Americans (18-34 year olds) are also more generous with their non- monetary support than older Americans (35+ years old), and are more willing to purchase products to support a cause, volunteer with the organization, attend fundraisers and participate in large-scale events. They are also more likely to wear bracelets or other accessories associated with a cause.

Other significant findings in the SunTrust Bank "My Cause" poll include:

  • On average, Americans spend 4.1 percent of their annual household income on charitable causes; those over 55 years of age donate the largest percentage (4.6 percent) versus those 18-34 (3.8 percent)
  • Across gender, age and region, Americans were most motivated to give back for two reasons: It's the right thing to do (89 percent) and because they want to help others (88 percent). Just 26 percent of respondents say they donate money to receive a tax write-off
  • Three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) prefer to support their charity of choice by giving money instead of by volunteering time
  • Women are more likely than men to give to a charitable cause (93 percent vs. 87 percent); women are also more inclined to choose the $100 SunTrust donation over the cash incentive (65 percent vs. 54 percent)
  • Southern adults donate the highest proportion (4.5 percent) of their income to charitable causes, followed by the Midwest (4.2 percent), the West (4.0 percent) and the Northeast (3.6 percente)
  • Two in three Americans (63 percent) give money directly to people in need, such as those on the street or via churches and community organizations
  • Seven in 10 Americans are inclined to do business with companies that give back to their communities

Visit for more details about the SunTrust "My Cause" poll or promotion.

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