Donors Like Large, But the More They Give, the Better for Smalls
October 8, 2018 As Massachusetts nonprofits gear up for end-of-year fundraising, they may want to keep in mind that while donors generally prefer to support large organizations, the more money donors give, the more likely they are to favor smaller organizations, a recently completed study of charitable giving has found.
The analysis, which assessed the giving behavior of 1,000 American charitable donors, part of The Donor Mindset Study, a series of research reports about American charitable donors completed by Grey Matter Research and Opinions4Good, found that:
- 38% have a favorite charity with total income of $1 billion or more.
- 23% have a favorite with income below $50 million.
- Only 5% of all donors name a favorite charity with total income below $1 million.
"Donors often maintain a preference for supporting smaller organizations. Yet the reality is that they do exactly the opposite," the report noted.
It suggested "that some donors have not found a small organization doing what the large organization they favor does. In their structure, some large organizations have effectively created a smaller, more localized feel through events or local chapters, so donors have the perception theyre supporting something smaller rather than massive.
"Very possibly, larger organizations have successfully called attention to their own work, then created loyalty and retention among new donors, in ways smaller organizations dont have the budget and/or expertise to replicate."
Other key findings include the following:
- 32% favor a health or disease-related charity above all others.
- 60% favor an organization that works globally.
- 22% favor an organization that works nationally.
- 14% favor an organization that works locally.
When asked what they viewed as the single most important factor for naming an organization as their favorite, 32% of respondents cited results. Another 28% cited trust, and 22% mentioned personal connection.
One noteworthy fact is that the more money donors give, the more likely they are to favor smaller organizations, the study found. The less donors give, the more likely they are to prefer larger charities.
Among donors who gave under $100 during the 12 months preceding the study, 47% have a favorite organization with a total income of $1 billion or more, compared to only 20% who have a favorite organization that does not exceed $50 million.
This ratio starts to equalize as giving increases, finally reaching 35% to 29% among donors of $2,000 or more in the past year.
The study also found that while it is commonly perceived that younger people are much more focused locally, due to volunteerism and grass-roots activism, the data do not support this: Only 10% of donors under age 35 favor an organization that works locally, while 63% have a favorite organization that works globally, the study found.
"If anything, younger donors are slightly more likely than older donors to lean toward global organizations over national or local ones."