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Catch 'em Young!

The recent study into donor motivations and behaviour featured earlier this month in the Chronicle of Philanthropy made for interesting – and potentially useful – reading.
I’m normally sceptical about lifting research from one country and applying it in another, (especially if the research was done in the US!), but the study by California based Hope Consulting makes some valuable conclusions that may well apply in the UK too.
In their study, funded amongst others by the Rockerfeller and Hewlett Foundations, Hope surveyed 4,000 individual donors about their giving, seeking to identify what led to their selection of charities to support. The survey targeted donors with household incomes over $80,000 per annum, as this group collectively make 75% of all charitable donations in the US.
One key finding is that donor motivations differed little between those just above the bottom end of the chosen income scale and the very wealthy. In addition, donors were found to be generally very loyal to their chosen causes. Hope’s conclusion is therefore that charities should seek to recruit donors young, i.e. before they have settled on the causes they will often support for the rest of their lives. The suggestion is that not only will life-time values be greater if charities target younger donors, but that they may be easier to recruit than “brand loyal” older donors.
This is a gross simplification of a107 page report, with many interesting findings. Although some of it is specific to the US, my feeling is that there are some useful nuggets for us here too. To read the report in full see:
What strikes me is that we could do with more research of this scale and quality in the UK. Let’s hope the IoF’s attempts to achieve this will be successful!