New Research Examines Donor Socialization and Social Venture Partners
Los Angeles, Calif., September 9, 2009 — Philanthropic training and immersion appears to be an effective way of encouraging donors to contribute more money and spend more time volunteering, according to a recent report published by The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at USC.
The findings stem from research examining donor socialization within Social Venture Partners International, an organization aimed at improving communities by enlisting donors to contribute their time as well as their money. The donors – called “partners” – join local “SVP” affiliates by giving $5,000 or more annually to a pooled fund. Partners also volunteer for the nonprofits they fund and participate in educational and collaborative decision-making activities.
“Becoming a Venture Philanthropist: A Study of the Socialization of Social Venture Partners” was written by Michael Moody, formerly of USC’s School of Policy, Planning, and Development. Among the report’s key findings:
• 70.9 percent of partners said their amount of giving to all causes had increased since joining SVP.
• 68 percent of partners said their amount of volunteering had increased.
• A third of those surveyed said their level of giving and volunteering rose by 50 percent or more.
• More than half of the partners said their levels of giving and volunteering rose by more than 100 percent.
Social Venture Partners’ innovative donor education methods have received interest from other nonprofits interested in boosting higher-end donations and increasing donor engagement. However, to date there has been little scholarly work on the processes of “donor socialization,” the processes through which donors learn to give in a particular way and become a part of an organization’s philanthropic culture. This new research project helps to increase our understanding of how new approaches to giving such as Social Venture Partners are facilitating donor education and learning.
The report was based on 175 responses to web-based survey questions that were collected from 14 SVP affiliates in the US and Canada, as well as in-depth interviews with 18 partners and SVP staff. The research was supported by the California Community Foundation Endowed Research Fund for The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at USC.