Where and Why People Donate their Money and Time to Charity

As nonprofits gear up for the 2012 and 2013 fundraising years, they should understand why people donate their money and time and where they spend those precious commodities.  For 2010/2011 trends, 69% of people were motivated to fundraise for a nonprofit because they felt a personal connection and 50% said because a family member or friend asked them to do so.  This is where social media really plays a big role in getting your connections to participate in fundraising activities. Believe it or not, only 37% said it was for the physical challenge.

The other important factor is the ways in which donors are donating: at checkout (52%), mail in a check (49%), through a gift shop (32%, think St. Jude), via website (37%), and a mere 27% through fundraising event. The amount of people still snail mailing in a check means we have a ways to go with online fundraising. Social media seems to be playing less of  a factor with online donations.

And just goes to show that Americans have no hard feelings and short term memories when it comes to scandal because rounding out the top 5 largest U.S. charities that donors gave to were:

  • United Way – $3.9 billion – in 1992, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 misappropriation of funds by CEOs at various chapters and in 2008 another chapter’s president terminated after compensation controversy.
  • Salvation Army – $1.81 billion – in 2010, Jim Norman scandal anyone?
  • Feeding America – $1.15 billion
  • American National Red Cross – $1.08 billion – in 2005 and 2007 suffered bad press from how its tarnished relief efforts for Hurrican Katrina victims and victims of the South Asia tsunami.
  • Food for the Poor – $1.04 billion
Where and Why People Donate Their Time and Money

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.


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