Disconnect with Donors and Other Audiences Sets Stage for Dissapointment and Loss of Confidence, According to SSIR/Google.Org Survey

Disconnect with Donors and Other Audiences Sets Stage for Dissapointment and Loss of Confidence, According to SSIRGoogle.Org SurveyGood news for your 2008 nonprofit marketing agenda– the writing is on the wall, the just-released findings of this new survey of over 8,000 donors who gave in 2006.

Here are the facts (as reported by the survey), why you should care, and what you should do about it (fix):

  • Fact: Most donors overestimate the percentage of their gifts groups that will go directly to help the needy.
    • There is a wide gulf between donors’ intended and actual giving.
    • The largest segment of respondents (47 percent) said that their primary reason for giving to charities was to assist the needy.
    • Yet in 2006, these donors dedicated only 6 percent of their giving to organizations that aim to meet people’s basic needs in the United States, and sent just 2 percent of their donations to organizations that aid people in other countries.
    • At the same time, they gave the bulk of their charitable contributions (60 percent) to religious causes.
  • Impact:
    • Wide
    • Donor disappointment, disengagement and anger. Lack of confidence cuts future gifting potential.
  • Fix:
    • Clearly articulate — through text, graphs and case studies — what your organization does, and how contributions are used.
    • When you do, you’ll avoid disappointing donors, volunteers and program participants and other key audiences.
    • As a result, you’ll strengthen existing relationships, and do better at building new ones.

Note: Survey implemented by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and sponsored by Google.org.

More tips on clearly and accurately telling your nonprofit’s story:

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Nancy Schwartz on February 12, 2008 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research, Nonprofit Communications, Nonprofit Marketing News, Trends | 1 comment
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  • Avi

    Thankfully our organization(a Student Run Homeless Shelter)does do a great job of articulating to donors how we spend funds and the specific impact we are able to make. Despite this, I find that it is a challenge to get donors and even more so grant foundations to see the need to fund our most basic expenses.
    I’ve heard this complaint from a lot of people in housing services in my area – that it seems everything needs to be formulated as a project or a pilot program. If a program isn’t new it can be harder to win grants, unless you can frame it as an exploration of some kind. But pressing and constant needs like rent and staff salaries aren’t sexy.
    I agree that being clear about how you spend funds is essential. What ways have people found to balance this need with the temptation many organizations face to frame everything they do as innovative? Has anyone else run into that issue/conflict?

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