Many Donors Giving Smaller Charitable Contributions to Fewer Organizations
ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 17, 2009 — The Harris Poll® examined the behaviors and attitudes of people who give money or time to charitable organizations or advocate for them, and how their behavior has changed as a result of the economy. Almost half (45%) of these people report that their giving and their volunteering have not changed, but many people are giving to fewer organizations (24%) or giving smaller amounts (31%). In addition, six percent are not making any donations and seven percent are volunteering less. The only positive finding is that nine percent report volunteering more of their time because of the economic downturn.
These are the results of a nationwide Donor Pulse survey of 2049 engaged adults (those who volunteered for or donated to a nonprofit or charitable organization or who had implemented one of eight advocacy behaviors) who were surveyed by Harris Interactive® online between December 28, 2008 and January 5, 2009.
Other interesting findings of this survey include:
* People who give to health care organizations are somewhat more likely to give smaller amounts (38% vs. 31%) and to give to fewer organizations (29% vs. 24%).
* Most people (60%) who give time or money to charity prefer, if given the choice, to give gifts to organizations that specify exactly how donations are used. Only 25% prefer to give unrestricted gifts that organizations are free to use as they see best.
Use of Social Media
This Harris Poll also asked several questions about the use of social media, such as YouTube and MySpace. A small but growing number (31% this year compared to 23% last year) of adults involved with charities think it extremely or very important “for non-profit and charitable organizations to use social media to communicate with their supporters.” However, currently only six percent of these people say they currently keep up with charities through social media.
Many people want to hear not only from senior staff in these organizations but also from junior staff and non-staff. In particular, they want to hear from those who provide the services they deliver as well as those who benefit from those services.
Many of the (small number) of people currently using social media to learn about charitable organizations have taken action as a result. Half (54%) have talked to a friend or family member, 41% made a contribution to the organization, 34% made a contribution to a cause the organization supports, 31% volunteered and 30% attended a sponsored event.
It is no surprise that so many people feel the need to cut back on their giving to charities, but it is worth noting that almost half of those who give time or money have not cut back.
This Harris Poll highlights the growing importance of social media in communicating information about charities and, for those who use it, in stimulating giving and volunteering.
This Harris Poll® was conducted online within the United States between December 28, 2008 and January 5, 2009 among 2049 adults (aged 18 and over) who have volunteered for or donated to a nonprofit or charitable organization or have performed at least one of eight advocacy behaviors. Full data tables and methodology are available at www.harrisinteractive.com.
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