Planning based on patterns of support

March 8, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

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People give, in many ways and to many causes. In their book “American Generosity,” Patricia Snell Herzog and Heather E. Price present many findings about the support patterns of Americans in what the authors call the Big Three: money, volunteering and political action, in particular those that differ from national averages. The findings show: * Females are underrepresented among political activists. * Married people are overrepresented among those who give money and volunteer. * Americans with youth in their household are overrepresented among volunteers. * Regular religious attendees are overrepresented among volunteers, with 50 percent of volunteers being regular religious attendees, vs. 33 percent of the general public. * Republicans are underrepresented among political activists, relative to those who do not identify as Republican (e.g. Democrat, Independent, no party affiliation). * College graduates are greatly overrepresented among all Big Three givers. * Employed Americans are overrepresented among all Big Three givers, most dramatically in the case of volunteering time. * Americans hit hardest by the recession are underrepresented among all Big Three givers. * Homeowners are overrepresented among those who give money and volunteer. There were also several unusual findings: * The average age of adult Americans is 49, but monetary givers’ age is 50 and volunteers’ is 48. There is no difference between the average age of adult Americans and political activists. * The average household income of adult Americans is $40,000 to $49,999, vs. $50,000 to $59,999 for all Big Three givers. * There is no difference in residential tenure between the general population and Americans who participate in Big Three giving forms.