Data Shows Greater Inclusion Needed In Donor Solicitation

A greater desire to be approached by charities was found among potential donors who are considered racial minorities than those of the overall U.S. population, according to new data in the Donor Trust Report 2021: Profiles in Charity Trust and Giving from the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s Give.org

For example, 25.1% of white survey participants said they would like charities to approach them more or would be willing to give more if approached; rather than saying they do not want to be approached or have been approached more than they should be. The portion of participants who would like charities to approach them more or would be willing to give more if approached is higher among African-Americans (50.1%), Hispanics (50.1%) and Asian-Americans (39.6%) 

The report was developed from a survey of more than 2,100 adults in the United States and more than 1,000 adults in Canada. It identifies significant shifts in trust for specific charity types and includes individual donor profiles for 13 charity categories based on self-reported behavior. 

“The sector is facing a participation crisis where, despite growing overall giving, the portion of Americans contributing to charities is decreasing. Based on self-reported giving to different charity types, our results suggest that the trend continued during 2020,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB’s Give.org, “This is a worrisome trend as we strive to build a diverse and inclusive charitable sector.”

Other data from the survey shows:

  • The portion of the population that highly trusts different charity types was relatively unchanged during 2020, with the exceptions of environmental organizations and civil rights and community action organizations, each experiencing a 3-point increase in “high trust.”
  • Of 13 charity categories in the survey, eight had a drop in the portion of participants who report giving during 2020 as compared to 2019. Also, when considering alternative donation channels used during 2020, the portion of participants who report not contributing through any channels increased from 16.4% in December 2018, to 20% in December 2019, and to 24.9% in December 2020.
  • 51.4% of African-Americans and 40.4% of Hispanics prefer to support charities serving specific needs affecting their ethnic community, as compared to 33.6% overall. 

The data shows that trust remains an issue in the minds of the public regarding charitable giving. But, there is space to build trust in the sector, with 63% of respondents rating the importance of trusting a charity before giving as 9 or 10 (Essential) on a 10-point scale, and only 18.5% of respondents highly trusting charities. 

While trust is still considered highly important in the giving process, the responses suggest that reliance on trust as a giving indicator has eroded during the past four years, with the portion of respondents who rate the importance of trusting a charity before giving decreasing steadily from 73% in December 2017, to 63% in December 2020. 

Between December 2017 and December 2020, the portion of respondents that highly trust charities overall has been relatively steady (the highest portion being 19% in December 2018, and the lowest 16.8% in December 2019). 

For a free copy of the report, go to Give.org/DonorTrust