Non-Profit Giving Habits

GivingThe only annual study dedicated to analyzing the giving habits of donors worldwide was recently published.  Produced by the Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech For Good, the report “seeks to gain a better understanding of how donors prefer to give and engage with their favorite causes and charitable organizations” (p.3).

Giving Habits

The report provides considerable global insight for those tasked with leading fundraising for faith-based non-profits:

  • Donors prefer to give online (61%)
  • Donors are inspired to give during the holidays (61%) – of those who engage in this type of giving, 77% of donors do so during the Christmas season – of those who give at Christmas, 11% list religious services and faith as their top cause
  • Baby Boomers were the only generation to list religious services and faith among the top three causes they give to

The report also offers considerable insight at a more granular level considering only input from North American participants:

  • Donors prefer to give online (62%) followed by direct mail (15%) and fundraising events (13%)
  • Religious services and faith was chosen as the top category for giving by more donors than any other category (12%)
  • Most American donors also volunteer (67%) and most also attend fundraising events (61%)

So What?

The report contained two key findings that summarize North American giving in comparison to giving elsewhere

  1. Donors in North America are unique in that they are predominately women (75%), ideologically liberal (63%), and Baby Boomers (42%). Of all donors worldwide, North American donors give the most to the cause of religious services and faith. 62% prefer to give online which is also the highest rate in the world.

  2. In the United States, the causes most donated to reflect a generational and ideological divide indicative of recent political and social upheaval. Millennials give the most to support human and civil rights. Baby Boomers are most supportive of religious services and faith. And in the middle is Gen X giving the most to help animals.

As someone who has been involved in fundraising for faith-based non-profits for many years the data above is not surprising. It does, however, provide new statistics that emphasize the importance of online options and the continued growth of this giving channel as well as perspective on how unique American’s level of giving to religious and faith based causes are in the global giving marketplace.

  • How many organizations will you donate to during the course of 2017 online? in response to direct mail campaigns? as part of a fundraising event?
  • Of these three options (online, direct mail, fundraising events), which do you respond to most often? Is there one you rarely or never respond to?
  • Think about the faith-based non-profit you know best (this may be your local congregation or community of faith).  How might their giving strategy benefit from this and other recent research about changes and trends in giving?

Note: Survey respondents were 4,084 donors from 95 countries across 6 continents.  The group was comprised primary of those who self-identified as female (73%), and included more respondents from the US (47%) than from any other country.

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