NEW YORK — Four in five Americans (81%) are willing to put aside disagreements with others to work on a cause they hold dear to their hearts. A new survey of 2,000 adults reveals that four in five are also willing to put their differences aside to work with someone they usually wouldn’t see eye-to-eye with when it comes to supporting a cause (78%).
Three in four (76%) are willing to engage in conversation with someone who holds different views to see if they can understand their point of view.
When asked what topics respondents felt people most disagreed on, politics came out on top (68%), followed by social justice issues (57%), climate change (53%), equal rights (53%), and the economy and the workforce (49%).
Conducted by the Walton Family Foundation and OnePoll to mark National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 15, the research finds that despite these differences in opinions, most Americans (80%) believe people need to come together to solve our country’s big issues.
“It’s heartening that so many people are willing to look toward common ground to find common solutions,” says Caryl M. Stern, executive director of the Walton Family Foundation, in a statement. “Our problems are too big to solve alone. We need inclusive coalitions to create solutions with sticking power.”
What motivates opposites to work together?
Sixty-three percent of respondents would work or volunteer with someone with different views if they had a shared cause they both deeply cared about. Still, seven in 10 think working on issues has the power to bring people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives together (70%). In fact, 60 percent have made a friend who’s passionate about the same issues they are.
The issues identified as most in need of collaboration are climate change (41%), local community issues (40%), diversity, equity, and inclusion (39%), growing local economies (38%), and increasing student achievement and opportunities (37%).
When asked which sectors they think can bring people together, philanthropy came out on top at 45 percent, followed by healthcare (45%), education (43%), the nonprofit sector (42%), and government (42%).
What do people think are the benefits of philanthropy? Half of Americans see philanthropy as a way to bring people together to tackle tough issues (50%), bring extra resources to address the world’s biggest issues (49%), and create access and opportunities for everyone (48%).
“I’m glad that philanthropy is helping to convene people from across communities and sectors,” says Stern. “This National Philanthropy Day, I’m excited to listen and look for innovative solutions that are bubbling up from people working together.”