Half (49%) of Americans have given to non-profit or charitable organizations in the last 12 months.
More than one third of the population (34%) donate to their church or religious institution, with 72% of those donors making their contribution in the form of a regular tithe or gift. Only 25% of those giving to charities or non-profits commit to a similar regular monthly payment.
You mentioned that you give to your church or religious institution. Do you....
Base: Those who give to a church/religious institution.
The older generation (55+) is more likely to give to charities and nonprofits (63%) than those 18-34 (33%) as were those earning more than $80k. (74%).
On how many occasions did you give to charities in the last 12 months?
Base: All adults giving to a charity / non-profit.
Americans who make charitable donations seem to do so regularly. Although 48% of donors make contributions between 1 and 5 times a year, one in 3 (30%) have made some kind of donation over 11 times in the last year.
For those who gave in the last 12 months the most supported causes are children (42%) and church or other religious sponsored causes (40%). Poverty (31%), health (29%), crises (26%) and animals (26%) were similarly popular.
What Motivates Gifts?
For more than half of Americans (52%) who give to charities or non-profits the single most important motivator is simply finding a cause that is important to them. This is particularly true for the younger givers (18-34, 65%) compared to 48% of the 55+ age group.
What is the single biggest factor that motivates you to give money to charity/non-profits?
Base: Adults who give to charity
For 12% of donors trusting the charity or non-profit is the single most important motivator. 8% wanted to feel a direct connection to the recipient, and were motivated by seeing an image of the adult, child, or animal directly benefiting from their gift. 6% wanted to easily see how their money would be spent
Deterrents to giving
Inflated salaries and excessive administrative expenses are the main deterrent to making a donation. 59% cited that worrying money would be spent on high salaries and administration would put them off donating. 58% would be put off if they were unsure how money would be spent. Older Americans are more concerned about clear spending strategies and good governance than the younger generation, and the poorer households surveyed were less concerned.
Nearly half of adults (45%) worry that the charity could be affiliated with a political party or religion that the potential donor did not feel sympathetic towards. Older Americans and the better educated are particularly concerned that their gifts should do not support religious or political organizations they do not agree with.
What prompted you to give to money the last time you gave?
Base: All Adults who give to a charity/non profit
Direct mail is still the strongest prompt for donations, aside from donating to a regularly supported charity.
21% of Americans cited direct mail solicitations as the prompt for their most recent gift. The medium is particularly successful with the over 55s; 25% having made their last gift in response to direct mail compared to only 14% of 18-34 year olds. Lower income households also respond strongly to direct marketing with 29% of those earning $40k or less responding to direct mail for their last donation, compared to only 18% of those earning $80k+.
The media plays an important role with 12% being prompted for their last gift by something they heard about in the media. It seems a stronger prompt for men (14%) than women (10%) and is a particularly strong motivator for Hispanics (18%). 21% of those who have supported a crisis or disaster related charity in the last 12 months were motivated by media for their last charitable gift. Lower income givers are also swayed with the media with 17% of their last gift being prompted by information they heard in the media.
Although social media has yet to take off as a major prompt, with only 6% of adults responding to Facebook or Twitter for their last gift, social media has become a significant motivator for 18—34 year olds. 11% of the younger demographic responded to social media for their last donation compared to only 3% of those 55+. Social media also seems to have a higher response rate for low-income households (11%).
Email prompted 10% of Americans to make their last gift. The over 55s (12%) are slightly more likely to respond to email than younger responders (9%). Those who have supported the arts in the last 12 months (25%) were particularly likely to respond to email, although we do not know if that is why they made the specific arts based donation
Wealthier responders were the most cautious in their response to solicitations of any kind. 56% of those earning $80k+ made their last donation to a charity that they already regularly support.
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