Year-End Donor Giving Trends and the Fundraiser/Donor Disconnect
Recently, nonprofit watchdog and rating organization Charity Navigator surveyed 175 donors and 40 charities to get a better feel for 2012 year-end giving trends from both fundraisers themselves and the donors who give those funds.
Then entire results are interesting, and I strongly encourage taking a look at the entire poll results. However, I want to focus on the responses from donors themselves.
For starters, 85 percent of the donors who responded donated in 2011's year-end giving season, and 88 percent plan to do so this year. That's a good sign, obviously, for your current donors. Those who gave last year — and a few who did not — plan on doing so again as we close out 2012. Obviously, donors differ across organizations, so it's up to fundraisers to still do their due diligence to get those dollars.
Here are a few more findings that donors provided:
- Of the donors who plan to give this year, 56 percent expect to give the same amount as last year, 29 percent more and 15 percent less.
- 67 percent of donors say a charity's level of accountability and transparency is very important their giving decisions.
- 31 percent of donors rank the CEO's salary as very important in their giving decisions.
- 76 percent of donors say a charity's financial health, including how much of a donation is spent on programs, is every important.
- 61 percent say a charity's results are very important.
- 7 percent say receiving an appeal from a charity motivates them to give.
- 10 percent of donors say religious/altruistic spirit of the holiday season motivates them to give.
- 13 percent say tax benefits motivate them to give.
Another interesting finding is the apparent disconnect between what charities believe is important to donors compared to what donors report is important to them. For instance, only 22 percent of the charities that responded believe their donors care about accountability and transparency, and none of the charities believe their donors care about the salary of the CEO. Even the financial health question shows a gap, as 57 percent of organizations believe financial health is important to donors compared to the 76 percent of donors who consider it important.
Another slightly surprising finding is that only 36 percent of donors say familiarity with a charity is important when selecting an organization to support, while 57 percent of charities believe it is important to their donors.
Clearly, even with the optimistic numbers indicating donors still plan to give, there is work to be done for fundraisers in closing the gap between what donors want and expect, and what charities believe their donors want and expect.