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Lessons from Our End-of-Year Fundraising Survey

We did it again. Conducted another Google Consumer Survey, that is. This one was on end-of-year fundraising (of course). For this survey, like the last one, we asked four questions. This time, though, the Google insights were so interesting we’re reporting the results in two parts. Today’s post will be on the first two questions in our survey; the second on questions three and four. 

And to help bring some of our most interesting findings to light, check out this handy dandy infographic - and don't forget to share with your friends:

Question 1: Did you make an online charitable donation in the last year? Wow! What we learned from this one seemingly innocent question (thank you, Google!). Though the answer overall was almost 2:1 NO, the dynamics of giving were pretty interesting. 

  • With 20,263 impressions, we received a 21.4% response rate. Of the 4,329 respondents, 59% were male; 41% female and most were from the midwest.
  • 58% said No; 28.6% said Yes; and 13% said they could not remember. 
  • People living in suburban and urban areas tended to give more online than those living in rural areas. 
  • Age played a large part in our online giving question. Respondents aged 35-44 gave more (30%) than those aged 18-24 (19%). 
  • Income and gender also seem to have an affect on online giving. Our survey revealed that men with an annual income of $75-$99K tended to donate more online (46%) than those who made up to $25k, at (26.2%). Speaking of men, those aged 25-34 (34%) and 55-64 (33%) gave more than the other age groups. Funny fact: those that said they can’t remember: men aged 35-44. Hmmm….wonder what that says about where they are in their lives?
  • Suburban women (31%) said YES, they gave online more than women living in rural areas (19%). And at 66.7%, women with an annual income of $150k or more donated more online than those who earned between $25-49k per year. 
  • In the southern part of the U.S., online giving has not really taken off, according to our respondents. As compared to the rest of the nation where the splits were more aligned at 60/30, the south was 62/23. 

Question 2: What typically prompts you to give online? Response choices were:
 - Social Media
 - Email
 - Online news or blogs
 - Direct mail
 - Text message/SMS
 - A combination of other (please provide)

What do you think was the number one prompter of online giving? Survey says (sorry, I could NOT help myself!) social media, with 25 percent. A close second was email, at 20.3 percent.

  • Women (31%) are prompted by social media more than men (29%). It’s the opposite with email: men were prompted more (20%) than women (18%). For online news, it was men who were prompted more; and for direct mail, women. For text messages, it was about an even split. 
  • At 37%, the 18-24 year olds chose social media over any other form of communication to get them to donate online. This age group also came in as number one for SMS/text message, though the numbers were low.
    • For the 35-44 year olds, it was blogs or online news.
    • For the 45-54 year olds, it was email. 
    • For the 65+, it was direct mail.
  • For the 55-64 year olds, it was another way altogether. This demographic is prompted by their religious organization or an annual event (marathon, etc).
  • As for location, the results are a bit of a quandary. For the rural dwellers, both social media and direct mail are the largest prompters of online giving. Those who live in suburbia can be reached by almost any method. They seem to respond equally to all the presented choices. In cities, well, social media ekes out over the other methods, but only just. 
  • Overwhelmingly, those respondents who are parents donate when they are prompted by an email; those who are not parents, are more likely to donate when they see something on social media, online news and/or direct mail. 
  • Nationwide, social media was the number one prompter to give online. Seems simple enough. BUT, here’s something interesting: when separated into regions, the country’s number two prompter was divided. In the south and midwest email prevailed, while in the northeast and west, online news or blog seemed to work better. 

Remember this was just two of our four questions. We learned a lot. What was most interesting was the regional breakdown. In the southern part of the U.S., people who responded to our survey tend to not give online (subject for another survey, perhaps?) Not surprising that those earning a higher income donate online more often. And, responders who are parents tend to give online more. The obvious conclusion here is that those who are parents find it is easier and less time consuming to give online.

Look for our next post on our end-of-year donation survey, which will address why people give (is it a tax deduction or sheer generosity?) and to whom they give (environmental, human rights, animal rights, etc.). 

Hope everyone enjoys the holidays and has a very happy new year!

Topics: Fundraising