Donors plan to cut giving, study says

Charitable giving
Charitable giving

The gloomy economy will continue to dampen charitable giving, with nearly 7 in 10 Americans saying they will give less to charity in coming months and another 1 in 10 planning not to give until the economy starts to revive, a new study says.

Still, nearly 8 in 10 donors plan to keep giving to charities they already support, especially donors age 40 to 59 and those younger than age 40, says the study conducted by Campbell Rinker on behalf of Dunham+Company.

The study, part of a Campbell Rinker Donor Confidence online survey Aug. 12-15 of 497 adults who had donated at least $20 to charity in the previous 12 months, found only 2 in 10 respondents would consider donating to groups they never before had supported, with nearly 9 in 10 people over age 60 less willing to donate to a new cause, compared to nearly 2 in 3 under age 40.

The study also found donors who give online are more likely to keep giving than those who don’t give online , with only 6 percent of online givers planning to stop giving, compared to 15 percent of those who don’t give online.

And 14 percent of online givers are likely to cut other spending before cutting charitable donations, compared to 9 percent of those who don’t give online.

“Our research has shown that online donors are more highly educated and have higher household incomes than donors who do not give online,”
Rick Dunham, president and CEO of Dunham+Company, says in a statement. “Charities would do well to focus attention on these donors to maintain their support and to find ways to acquire other donors via the web.”

The top three factors affecting a donor’s willingness to give are directly related to the U.S. economic climate, including reduced income because of job loss, the rising cost of personal or living expenses, and uncertainty over the economy, the study says.

That should concern charities, the study says, because 43 percent of those surveyed believing the economy will continue to decline, 31 percent believe it will stay and same, and only 17 percent expecting it to improve.

“Since 2008, our research into donor confidence consistently shows that individuals give more freely when they feel their expenses are under control,” Dirk Rinker, president of Campbell Rinker, says in a statement.

“Few donors feel that way in this economy,” he says. “In response, organizations might consider how to empathize with their constituents as they seek to engage and inspire them to maintain their level of support.”

Among people who regularly attend religious services, 95 percent plan to keep giving, with one-third of that group indicating they are more willing to gi8ve in the coming months.

That group also was four time more likely to cut back on other expenses to keep donating, compared to those who don’t attend religious services, and twice as likely to say that giving will be among the last of their expenses to be cut.

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