Income seen driving donor motivation

While donors in different regions of the U.S. vary in their motivations for giving, income and education are bigger drivers of those differences than are region-specific values, a new study says.

Overall, almost two in 10 donors say their most important reason for donating money is to help people meet their basic needs, followed by a desire to make the world a better place, says the study from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Among donors with annual income of less than $50,000, the top motivation to help meet basic needs or to “help the poor help themselves.”

Donors with income from $50,000 to $100,000 say their primary motivation is to make the world better.

The wealthiest donors, those making $100,000 or more, say they give because “those with more should help those with less,” or because they want to improve their communities.

“With this study, we find that the ways donors describe their giving motivations also vary with income and education,” Patrick M. Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy, says in a statement. “This has implications for fundraising messages in all their forms.”

The study, which includes data from more than 10,000 households across the U.S., was funded by CSS, a fundraising consulting and management firm.

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