We are told behind every dark cloud lies a silver lining. In fact, history is replete with examples of wars, plagues, and bloody revolutions that, as an unintended side effect, birthed wonderous breakthroughs in medicine, transportation, communication, and societal evolution. So has it been with COVID-19? One of the social benefits the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has yielded is a significant uptick in charitable giving. The online lender Lending Tree recently surveyed more than 1,000 Americans and discovered nearly two out of three reported having donated to various charitable groups and causes in 2021. More than a third of them donated more than once.
Other key findings from the survey include:
- The three most popular causes among donors were education, health, and human services.
- Democrats were more likely to donate to environmental and overseas causes, whereas Republicans preferred to donate to religious organizations.
- Most donors—73 percent—donated less than $500 to charities in 2021.
- But perhaps most intriguing is Lending Tree’s finding that a majority of respondents said they would like to donate more. When asked why they make charitable donations, 67 percent expressed a simple motivation: They want to help others in need. (Only one in 10 cited tax deductions as a reason.)
This same urge to increase charitable giving, especially in the face of COVID-triggered economic and societal disruptions, is mirrored in a survey recently conducted by the financial industry giant Wells Fargo. In it, 811 U.S. adults were questioned online and revealed, among other things, that two out of three Americans (67 percent) sometimes feel like they do not give enough. This is particularly true for Millennials (74 percent) and Gen Z (76 percent).
“Almost everyone surveyed—95 percent—say that giving makes them feel good, and the pandemic has accentuated opportunities to give,” explained Arne Boundwyn, head of Wells Fargo’s family wealth and culture services. The survey revealed that almost half, or 46 percent of respondents, say they are giving more because of the pandemic, while only 11 percent report giving less.
More Key Findings
Another key finding of the Wells Fargo survey is a shift in how people, especially those under 40, are choosing to give. More than a third of those surveyed (35 percent) reported they used crowdfunding sites, like GoFundMe. Nearly 20 percent said they preferred social media donation buttons, and 16 percent said they gave directly to web entertainers and information sites like Wikipedia.
The shift to online giving is only expected to increase in the years ahead as “digital natives,” those who grew up with the Internet, use it in lieu of more traditional media. In the Wells Fargo survey, most people, 85 percent, said they don’t consider themselves “philanthropists,” the respondents preferring to apply this term to millionaires and other high-ticket donors. “Overall, these findings show a positive trend in community support,” Boudewyn said. “With more than 87 percent of respondents having grown up understanding the value of generosity, those are clearly values passed through the generations.”
So, if young people want to give more, why aren’t they?
One answer may be a large amount of debt those under 40 tend to carry on credit cards or due to student loans. Another reason may be that they are just not getting the right message… or a convenient way to do something about the problem.
Certainly, the most efficient way to connect with young donors is to meet them where they live: on the Internet. In both the Lending Tree and Wells Fargo surveys, respondents 40 and under indicated they almost always donate online, whether it’s via crowd-funding sites like GoFundMe, “Donate” buttons on stories featuring news about specific charities or non-profits, or directly on the websites of such organizations. Knowing this, reaching out directly via emails or, better yet, texts speak to this valuable cohort in a language they understand and in a format with which they feel most comfortable.
But while, in the words of the late great Marshall McLuhan, the medium may be the message, the message itself is often just as important. And this is where DonorSearch can provide the solution your organization needs. DonorSearch Artistotle uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to target potential donors of all generations with messaging that speaks directly to their connection with a non-profit or other organization in need of fundraising. This is far different from legacy outreach applications which tend to focus on a potential donor’s net worth and past philanthropic patterns when making electronic solicitations. By pairing compelling messages with each recipient’s individual sympathies/loyalties, DonorSearch makes acquiring donations far more efficient, effective, and cost-effective.
Specifically, DonorSearch helps organizations:
- Identify donors who have a capacity to give and possess an affinity for a cause.
- Expand their outreach list with a more targeted prospect search database.
- Predict prospects’ giving capacity with accurate, secure giving intelligence data.
If you are eager to follow your (younger) donors into the increasingly active digital realm and maximize the impact of each solicitation, please contact our team of experts to arrange a demo of DonorSearch Products today.