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Female Donor Trends: A 2018 Survey Breakdown

Female Donor Trends: A 2018 Survey Breakdown

Fundraising professionals know that all donors are not the same.
As women become even more powerful forces in supporting causes, organizations should be mindful of the trends that link female donors together.

One of the best regular surveys on donor trends is the Global Trends In Giving (GTG) report. Produced annually by the Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good, the report surveys thousands of donors around the world, and highlights trends that range from what types of charities get the most donations, to the methods donors prefer.
The report also does a detailed breakdown of male vs. female donors. Let’s take a deeper dive into the 2018 report and gain a better understanding of female-donor activity. The 2018 version, available at https://givingreport.ngo/, includes data from 6,057 donors from 119 countries. It was conducted from late April through June 2018.

Female Donor Trends

While the entire dataset is interesting, our breakdown will focus on two subsets: female donors—the focus of this article—North American respondents (which combines both the U.S. and Canada). Note that this doesn’t mean a U.S.-based charity should not pursue donors from around the world; in fact, the survey found that 31% of all donors gave to a cause based outside of their country. That said, gaining a detailed understanding of your most likely donors—those in your country—should be the foundation of any campaign.

In the GTG survey, 65% of the respondents were female. Among GTG’s key findings; female donors were most inspired to give as a result of social media (32%), followed by email (26%) and website outreach (17%). Males, on the other hand, preferred email (30%), social media (24%) and the web (19%).
Other key results from the female respondent data subset:
45% are enrolled in a monthly donor program
42% donate to crowd-funding campaigns
35% give tribute gifts
67% volunteer locally
92% are regular voters

Each of these tracked closely with male donor data results except for the tribute-gift response—only 21% male donors report giving tribute gifts.

Now let’s look at some key figures from the North American donor subset. While the following trends represent all North American donors, note that 70% of those respondents were females. One of the most significant takeaways: 56% of North American donors say “they are most likely to give repeatedly to an organization if they receive regular communication about the work the organization is doing and the impact that their donation is making,” the survey found.

Among giving methods, 60% prefer credit card, far out-pacing the next-highest category of mailing in a donation (17%). Not surprisingly, the top five causes are tightly bunched: health and wellness (12%), children and youth (11%), animals and wildlife (9%), faith and spirituality (9%), and human and social services (8%). Recognition is important, but many North American donors do not want to see resources (such as paper) wasted in the process: 68% prefer to be thanked for their donations by email, 20% by print letter, 5% by print postcard, 3% by social media message, and 3% via text message.

The survey noted that the influence of email- and website-generated donations in North America makes a .org domain more important as a rusted source, as 73% of respondents report they trust the .org extension—the highest percentage among world regions. North America also has the highest rate of Baby Boomer donors (41%) and donors who have charitable giving in their last will and testament (20%), the survey found.

While each target donor broken down into very specific subsets. Big-picture surveys such as GTG can help, but the most accurate read comes from analyzing your own donors and prospective donors, and detecting unique trends.
If you don’t know where to start, give us a call—we’d be happy to sit down with you.

Men vs Women Donors

Why Women Donors Are Likely More Valuable

If you’ve detected a trend in the last few years that shows women becoming more politically engaged, you’re not imagining things.

The 2018 election cycle saw new records for the number of women candidates for governor as well as both the House of Representatives and the Senate. And they’re not just running–they’re winning. The current crop of House members includes a record number of women “by a wide margin,” as Time magazine noted.

This activism goes well beyond political office–it extends to donor patterns as well. An analysis by Nonprofit Quarterly found that women’s political engagement has surged in the last two years, including donations. This has major implications for charities that provide basic human needs.

Research by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy found a direct link between income levels and how donors spend on charitable giving. No surprise there. What may be surprising is the respective donation patterns of men vs. women. As the Nonprofit Times explains, men are more likely to give to organization-focused charities–think schools and societies, religious organizations, or youth-focused endeavors. However, “When the woman’s income increases, the couple is more likely to give — and give a larger amount — to charities that provide basic human needs, such as the Salvation Army, American Red Cross or a homeless shelter.”

Women also are more likely to give from their heart, meaning they are more likely to be motivated by current events or major trend shifts, such as an election result.

The research backing this was done in 2015–before the recent overall surge in women’s activism. Combining the established tendencies with the current political environment, and it’s not a stretch to say that women are having greater influence than ever over charitable giving and overall political activism.

New research from the Lilly School concludes that adult daughters are more likely to be influenced by the charitable giving of their parents than adult sons. While this underscores the idea that women have increasing influence, it also highlights a general need to bridge the gap between parents and sons.

“If giving is to increase to continue to address the pressing challenges of today’s society, then society in turn must find ways to ensure that these values are passed on to both sons and daughters,” the report says.

As a nonprofit executive who relies on donors to drive your organization, what should your takeaways be?

First, understand that men and women are different, even if all other demographics–income, place of residence, education, etc.–are exactly the same.

Also recognize that while both genders show tendencies to form established donation patters based on their experiences and values, women are more likely to shift theirs and get more involved based on current events.

You should always tailor your campaigns so they appeal to subsets of donors based on income, location, age, etc.
If you’re not already targeting men and women differently, too, consider doing so.

A meaningful appeal letter; speaking to the national mood.

Writing a meaningful appeal letter is much more than relaying your organizations goals to your donors (though this is very important as well).
Effective appeals – the ones that really resonate and capture hearts and minds – possess a certain cultural element, a snapshot of the current national mood. The national mood might be affected by significant events, whether it’s a natural disaster or a tragic mass shooting, heavily influenced by mainstream media. If the United States of America were a single person, the national mood would embody a cluster of emotions and thoughts that she is experiencing right at this moment.

It’s critical to take stock in the national mood because it influences how all citizens feel, who they vote for, and which organizations they give to. However, it’s not always clear how various donor segments of your organization will respond to different events. As a leader of advocacy, it’s up to you to determine what your donor is dwelling on. For example, are they affected by the results of Hurricane Harvey? Is the Texas church shooting fresh in their minds? What about the current wave of sexual assault and harassment allegations made by women against powerful men in Hollywood and elsewhere?

Tapping into the sentiments generated by the constant stream of newsworthy events is a powerful way to channel your supporters’ outrage into action. If it’s convincing your constituents to fill out a check or ballot, your goal is to engineer concrete action by coopting current events.

So, for your next appeal or fundraising letter, tell a story that incorporates the headlines that move your donors to action.

Tell your organization’s story the right way, and don’t be afraid to borrow from the headline.

Need ideas for your organization’s next fundraising or advocacy campaign? Ask us!

Tools for Change Agents In A New Organizational World

As an Economist magazine puts it. “Trust can be defined as the expectation that other people or organizations will act in ways that are fair to you.”*

We find ourselves in a time when Americans simply don’t trust organizations, businesses or even each other. According to a survey conducted by the University of Chicago last year, only 32% of respondents feel that “most people can be trusted” down from 44% in 1976. When interpersonal trust breaks down, citizens lose faith in the many institutions that allow democracy to function. So what does this drastic loss of trust mean for nonprofits?

The first noticeable consequence is the decrease in political participation and involvement – especially through the traditional structures like political parties. Instead of contributing time and money to political parties more and more people are supporting advocacy organizations that work to advance the specific causes those individuals are most passionate about. As citizens continue to lose trust in two-party government and its attendant infrastructure, they will turn to citizen run nonprofit organizations for leadership and guidance. Instead of counting on institutions, such as regulatory agencies and the courts, for redress, the electorate will splinter off into factions unaffiliated with the political parties so that those groups can work on real solutions to their grievances.

This is what grassroots organizations are all about, crafting real solutions to real problems while avoiding the sluggish, creaking party apparatus altogether. And these aren’t your grandparents’ church groups; these are sophisticated organizations that aim to spread their message and implement their agenda using cutting-edge data analytics to personalize content and micro-target sympathetic audiences.

Like the fearless wildcatters searching for oil in the Arctic, and the creative programmer who architects a paradigm-shifting social network, the leaders of these next generation, leading-edge advocacy organizations are visionaries. We call them social entrepreneurs because they create cultural wealth and social opportunity.

But as with the entrepreneurs of the for-profit variety, social CEOs need resources and strategic guidance to their organizations and grow their brands. And that is where we come in. Grass Root Communication has a suite of services – as well as our very own nonprofit incubator – that can assist any organization in crafting its engagement content, growing its support base and increasing its influence.

For example. Our Data Lab specializes in gleaming strategic insights from your house list as well as injecting additional demographic and psychographic information into the list and using it to target more prospects. Our Word Science department uses those same data patterns to identify different segments and to write captivating, persuasive appeals for each one of those sub-groups. And our Brand Factory can cultivate your organizations brand, transforming it from obscurity to visibility.

Whatever your cause, whatever your agenda, GRC has all the tools a social enterprise needs to develop its vision and perfect its outreach.

 

*(August 12th, 2017 pg. 53 )

Measuring the Mind of A Donor

Currently, there is no universally accepted numerical index that captures donor sentiment, that is, the enthusiasm potential donors  feel about their own financial situation and thus their expected willingness to make generous contributions to their preferred charities and non-profits. Donor sentiment is tricky because there is no guarantee that prospects will donate even if they feel optimistic  about their purchasing power and there is no rule stating that people refuse to give when economic conditions sour.

However, a consumer sentiment index is a relevant metric that comes to mind when trying to find a proxy for a measure of how donors might behave in the near future. Looking at the University of Michigan’s well known consumer confidence index, we see that the figure rose 4.7 points from a month earlier to register a reading of 98.2 in December. This is great news because it is the highest reading since January of ‘04 and implies that consumers feel very optimistic about the economy at the present moment.

This positive sentiment is expected to translate into healthy consumer spending and consumers who spend more are more likely to further contribute to nonprofits if presented with the right opportunity. It is exactly the type of economic environment that fundraisers hope for as expectations of future growth also rose more quickly than they did last month. Organization directors should keep in mind, however, that the index may misrepresent economic reality and may become volatile.

A separate consumer confidence indicator, released by the Conference Board also rose in December to 113.7 from a revised 109.4 in November with the surge in optimism most pronounced among older consumers, according to Lynn Franco, Director of Economic indicators at the Conference Board. Older donors tend to give in greater volume to charitable causes ; according to a 2013 study on generational giving habits commissioned by the software firm Blackbaud,? Those born in 1945 or earlier give an average of $1,367 a year compared to millennials who average $481 in annual gifts.

Crucially, the older generation prefers direct mail communications which, according to Jen Love (Co-founder of Fund-raising consultancy Agents of Good) and Tom Ahern (an industry expert in writing fund-raising communications) is still the most effective medium through which to reach donors.

Sources:

See article: ‘Flattery Will Get You Everywhere’ by John Hanc, The New York Times – 11/6/16

The Donor-Centric Pledge

We [fill in the name of your nonprofit organization here], believe…

1. That donors are essential to the success of our mission.

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2. That gifts are not “cash transactions.” Donors are not merely a bunch of interchangeable, easily replaceable credit cards, checkbooks and wallets.

3. That no one “owes” us a gift just because our mission is worthy.
4. That any person who chooses to become our donor has enormous potential to assist the mission.
5. That having a program for developing a relationship with that donor is how organizations tap that enormous potential.

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