Donors Plan to Give More But Not to Political Candidates
Political giving in this presidential election year won’t dampen support for charities, according to the latest survey commissioned by Dunham+Company and conducted by Campbell Rinker. Instead, most donors said they plan to give at least as much as they did last year.
Nearly 8 out of 10 donors (79 percent) indicated they would give the same or more as they gave in 2015 to charitable causes; only 14 percent said they would reduce their giving. Eight percent were unsure.
None of those who planned to give less to charitable causes said it was because of the election. Instead, they indicated it was primarily because of their personal financial situation (81 percent). The same is true for those who said they would give more; 59 percent indicated it was because of their financial situation.
“Charities don’t need to worry about how this election year will impact donor support,” says Rick Dunham, President+CEO of Dunham+Company. “Our study found a general dissatisfaction with Washington and a reluctance to give to political candidates or causes.”
Eight-three percent of self-identified conservatives, 64 percent of moderates, and 47 percent of liberals said they were dissatisfied with the political system at the federal level.
The majority of donors (56 percent) did not plan to give to any candidate, political party or PAC this year, including 60 percent of self-identified conservatives, 55 percent of moderates, and 52 percent of liberals. Only 3 percent of donors said they planned to give more to a candidate, political party or PAC this year.
Although the election isn’t expected to influence charitable giving this year, the study shows that the way charities respond after donations can have a big impact. After improving finances, the second most likely reason donors said they would give more this year was the way a charity treated them after they gave a gift. One out of six donors (16 percent) indicated this was the reason they would give more.
The older the donor, the more likely this would motivate increased support, with 18 percent of 48- to 65-year-old donors saying how a charity treated them after giving a gift would cause them to give more and 21 percent (more than 1 out of 5) of 66 and older donors saying the same.
Dunham says this should motivate charities to follow donor-care best practices, including giving the donors a receipt within 24 to 48 hours of receiving a gift, using that process to express genuine appreciation for the donor’s support, and calling higher-end donors to thank them for their support.
The study also reveals only 31 percent of donors indicated they set a giving budget, with the most likely groups to do so being donors 66 years and older (38 percent) and those who attend religious services almost every week or more (45 percent).
“This study shows that charitable giving, for the most part, is still impulsive since the overwhelming majority of donors don’t budget for giving,” Dunham says. “This makes it all the more important for charities to have a consistent and integrated fundraising strategy if they hope to garner that impulse gift.”
The latest Dunham+Company study was part of a Campbell Rinker Donor Confidence Survey conducted Jan. 27-Feb. 1, 2016 among 400 U.S. adult donors who had given at least $20 in the previous year. The online responses were weighted by age to reflect the general U.S. population per the 2010 census. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.