Political Season Is Here, But May Not Cost Nonprofits

January 12, 2020 — Nonprofits concerned that the 2020 election year will syphon off donations that otherwise would come their way can breathe easier, according to a national survey, as 45% of respondents said they are most likely to support nonprofits above political causes.

Only about two in five (or 39%) respondents said their political beliefs probably or definitely dictate what causes they donate to. However, higher-earning households demonstrate giving behavior that is far more politically-motivated. Nearly half of households with an annual income of $150,000 or greater say their political beliefs definitely dictate who or what organizations they donate their money to.

The findings were reported in Why America Gives, developed by Classy, an online and mobile fundraising platform for nonprofits, based on 1,002 responses from people age 18 or over.

Causes that individuals support varies by their political affiliations, the survey found.
  • The top three causes that people affiliated with the Democratic Party support are disaster relief, environment/animals, and health.
  • The top causes that people who affiliate with the Republican Party support disaster relief, religion, and health.
  • For those who affiliate with the Libertarian Party, it is individuals raising money on behalf of nonprofits, environment/animals, and individuals' personal cuases.
  • For Independent Party affiliates, it is disaster relief, health, and environment/animals.
  • For Green Party affiliates, it is health, arts/culture and humanities, and government.
Across all generations, a donor’s level of trust in an organization plays a significant role in their likelihood to give, according to the report: "When respondents were asked to rank factors that would deter them from donating to a nonprofit, the top ranked deterrent was whether that nonprofit received negative press coverage.

"Following negative press, the next factor that would deter people from donating is if a nonprofit doesn’t provide regular updates on how donations are used."

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they would give more often to nonprofits if organizations made it easier to give. Empowering mobile giving would also generate more support, as today more than 50% of traffic to all fundraising campaigns comes via mobile devices.

However, the lack of an online donation page or a clunky online giving experience costs donors’ trust. More than half of Millennial and Gen Z respondents (54% for each) said if they can’t easily donate to a nonprofit online or via a mobile device, then they will have less trust in how that nonprofit uses their funds. This compares to only 20% of baby boomers who felt the same.

This holds true across all generations: 41% of total respondents said that if they can’t easily donate to a nonprofit online or via a mobile device, then they will have less trust in how an organization uses donated funds.