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The drive behind the donation

The top 5 charitable causes American respondents are most likely to support are animal welfare (43%), poverty alleviation and food security (38%), health and medical research (35%), education and youth development (33%), and disaster relief and humanitarian aid (33%).

Caroline Beschner Research Analyst in Research, Insight and Consulting 17/08/2023
Only 1% of Americans who prefer to donate online are motivated by celebrity or influencer endorsements.

The motivation to give back through charity and acts of community work comes from our deep recognition of our shared humanity, and the incredible feats individuals have taken to overcome significant humanitarian events more recently. This sparks a drive to create a positive impact by supporting causes that resonate deeply with us. Having a personal connection to the cause (38%) and having a desire to make a positive impact (37%) are the main motivators when donating to charities. Being able to observe the tangible impact of our contributions fuels a sense of purpose and joy that often presents as just as significant to those that donate than the cause itself.

The importance of a digital presence

While 60% of Americans say they prefer to donate to the charity of their choosing in-person, having a strong online presence is important for non-profit businesses, as it is for any other industry. Just under half of Americans (43%) find a charity’s digital presence, branding, and online engagement important in influencing their decision to donate. When it comes to donating to charities online, the majority of individuals (73%) will research a charity or cause before making an online donation regardless of their current knowledge of the charity.

An interesting statistic points to a sign that half of individuals with children find their decision to donate is influenced by a charity’s digital presence, while those without children did not (40%). Ease, accessibility, and transparency in charitable organizations for its digital audience is perhaps a large part of this spike in parents, with other factors playing a significant part in where they spend their money and time investing in additional activity outside of the home.

Compelling videos play a vital role for charities because they engage viewers emotionally and effectively. 41% of American find that video campaigns that present a compelling narrative impacts their willingness to donate. Generationally, younger audiences feel the impact even more, with the majority of Gen-Z’s (58%) and Millennials (46%) donating to a charity or cause based on a compelling video. Being able to see the real-world impact, the people that a cause helps, and the mission statement behind a charitable organization can inspire others to act and get involved.

The drive behind the donation

One of the largest factors that contribute to the decision whether to donate to a charity or not is the convenience of being able to do it online. The large majority of respondents (57%) stated that they prefer to donate to charity-specific websites, and 64% of Americans are likely to engage in online fundraising activities for charities. 75% of those who prefer to donate online deem the transparency of a charity’s financial information as important

Another major factor that influences the choice of online donations is the availability of preferred payment methods. The most popular way to donate is through PayPal and credit cards (53%). Half of Americans (51%), especially Boomers (69%), prefer credit/debit cards for online donations, followed by PayPal (32%). And, only 2% of respondents prefer cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, for online donations. The ability for charitable organizations and platforms to enhance smart and efficient online payment systems can provide charities with immediate access to funds.

In terms of matching donation campaigns, 64% of people are more likely to be influenced to donate based on the amplification of their contribution. By participating in a matching donation campaign, the donor gains assurance that their contribution will be magnified, which creates a more significant impact in supporting the cause.

The societal pressure of donating

It is important that individuals match their own values and personal beliefs to the charities of their choosing, so they can ensure the genuineness of their donations. Unfortunately, the societal pressure of donating can create a sense of obligation which can hurt the authenticity of one’s impact. Luckily, most Americans are not affected by social pressure to donate. A majority of American (68%) choose to donate based upon personal convictions and interests. A smaller portion of American (17%) feel obligated to contribute to avoid appearing unsupportive.

Celebrity endorsements often fail to impact one’s decision to donate due to the lack of shared personal values. Only 1% of Americans who prefer to donate online are motivated by celebrity or influencer endorsements. While celebrities can raise awareness for these causes, their overall involvement does not affect the willingness to donate. About two thirds of Americans (63%) say celebrity endorsements do not impact their decision to donate. Specifically, women (67%) believe that celebrity endorsements do not impact their choice in donating to charities.



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