New Research Examines Donor Socialization and Social Venture Partners
In addition to increasing how much donors give, involvement with SVP also affected how they give, with 86.3 percent of partners saying they gave in a new way after becoming active in SVP. Partners reported being more “strategic” in their giving, being more results-oriented, more engaged and collaborative, and writing fewer but larger checks.
Social Venture Partners was started in Seattle in 1997 as technology companies and advances created a new form of “dot.com” wealth, and entrepreneurs and others then became interested participating in philanthropic projects. SVP International has now grown to more than twenty affiliates in the United States and Canada.
Previous surveys have found significant effects of SVP engagement on donors but they were created with different research questions and primarily focused on Seattle’s Social Venture Partners affiliate. The Center’s study looks closer at precisely how the programs impact giving and it incorporates data from a broader range of cities.
“This research provides important insights into how individuals come to be more sophisticated and strategic donors through their participation in donor circles and peer networks, as exemplified by SVP,” says Jim Ferris, director of The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy.
Partners clearly indicated that their involvement with SVP was a factor – in most cases a “significant” or “primary” factor – in changing how much they give and how they give, though the report adds that additional research is necessary to investigate just how these changes come about.
Partners identified two of the SVP activities – serving on the committee that makes collective giving decisions, and volunteering with the organizations they support – as the most beneficial socialization experiences. Formal donor education events also played a key role, but were not as important to partners as these intense engagement experiences.
The report makes the following recommendations for nonprofits, philanthropic advisors, and others who work with donors and who are interested in using more effective donor socialization techniques: