Downturn When Donors Lose Emotional Connection with Charities
1 December 2008 at 4:51 pm
Wealthy donors cite the loss of emotional connection with a charitable organisation as the leading reason for discontinuing to give, according to a new US study.
Nearly 60% of wealthy households who stopped giving to a charitable organisation attributed their change in philanthropic behaviour to “no longer feeling connected to the organisation,” according to initial findings released today from a new survey initiated by Bank of America.
The 2008 Bank of America Study of High Net-Worth Philanthropy explores the opinions of nearly 700 respondents throughout the United States with household income greater than $US200,000 and/or net-worth of at least $1,000,000.
Conducted by The Centre on Philanthropy at Indiana University the 2008 research follows an initial landmark study published through this partnership in 2006.
Key insights from the new study indicate that wealthy donors are giving more strategically and are increasingly turning to legal and financial professionals as primary sources for advice about charitable giving decisions.
Additional noteworthy themes to emerge include:
• Desire to “give back to the community” the leading motivation for giving, while “public recognition” essentially a non-factor
• Donors believe charitable contributions have a greater impact on their personal fulfilment than on the organisations they support.
• Families use involvement to pass philanthropic values on to the next generation, who in turn give through their own private foundations or donor-advised funds as adults.
• Religious organisations second only to parents are seen as a leading source of philanthropy education.
• Transparency, accountability and protection of privacy among donors’ primary expectations of the Not for Profit organisations they support.
The 2008 Bank of America Study of High Net-Worth Philanthropy will track significant shifts as well as certain consistencies among the giving behaviours of the wealthiest donors, and is expected to offer valuable insight to non-profit organizations hoping to attract, sustain and deepen relationships with these donors.
Patrick Rooney, from the Centre on Philanthropy at Indiana University says this study includes some good news for charities in these difficult economic times.
He says the findings indicate that these donors are committed to the ongoing success of the charities to which they contribute. In fact, the top two objectives for the largest gifts they made in 2007 were to provide general support for the Not for Profit and to make a long-term investment in the organisation.
He says this should offer charities hope of continued vital support from these loyal donors at a time when it is much needed.
The full version of the study will be released in the first quarter of 2009.