Charitable Donors Give More When Asked Personally
The study also found a relationship between gift amounts and the level of recognition donors received. Although greater levels of recognition do not necessarily motivate donors to make larger gifts, donors who reported receiving substantial recognition for their contributions made larger gifts ($1,132) than those receiving minimal ($926) or moderate ($851) recognition.
Additionally, donors who received token gifts as recognition had the second lowest average gift. “This finding is particularly interesting because it speaks to the way donors perceive the value of their giving,” said Campbell & Company President Peter Fissinger. “With token recognition, donors may see their contributions as transactions, but donors who receive more personal recognition better understand how their gift impacts an organization’s
work. That moves them away from transactional giving to larger philanthropic contributions.”
Among other findings from the study:
• The average largest gift amount for donor households was $1,098. Among all donors, 43 percent directed their largest contributions to religious organizations, and 57 percent to secular charities.
Although a lower number of gifts went to religious organizations, a greater share of the total dollars from donors’ largest gifts (79 percent) went to religious organizations, which includes donations to congregations for relief work and other community programs.
• For higher-income households (income of $150,000 or more), the average largest gift of $2,486 was more than twice the overall average. Among these higher-income donors, a greater share of the number of the largest gifts and of the dollar amount of these gifts went to educational, health, and arts and cultural organizations than was the case in the general population.
• Members of the general population were more likely to select providing for the basic needs of the very poor as their main motivation for giving than any other reason. Among higher-income households (those with incomes of $150,000 or more), the most common motivation was the belief that those with more should help those with less.