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What the inaugural Global Trends in Giving Report tells us about donors worldwide

What the inaugural Global Trends in Giving Report tells us about donors worldwide

Nonprofit Tech for Good has published its inaugural 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report, which aims to provide a better understanding of donors worldwide and their giving habits and preferences.

The survey for the 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report was conducted online, in English, French, and Spanish, and questioned 4,084 donors in 94 countries, across six continents. The vast majority of the donors participated in English and were based in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, with plans for the 2018 survey to also be conducted in Arabic and Portuguese to extend its reach. It is sponsored by the Public Interest Registry and researched by Nonprofit Tech for Good.

Global giving trends

Donors worldwide are predominately women (73%) who have a liberal ideology (61%) and are 37 years old or older (73%). The survey found that globally, the vast majority of donors prefer to give online (61%) with 14% preferring to give by direct mail, 14% via fundraising events, 6% by mobile, and 5% through workplace giving. 54% are regular givers, with the vast majority of these – 82% – giving monthly. 45% of donors give to charities outside of their own country.

What inspires people to give

Seventy-five per cent of donors questioned globally for the report agreed that social media is the primary news source for staying up to date with their favourite charities, and 25% say social media also inspires them the most to give. Facebook seems to work best here, according to the survey results, with 62% inspired to give by this channel, compared to 15% for Twitter, 10% for Instagram, and 6% for YouTube. LinkedIn inspires more online donations at 3% than WhatsApp (1.4%), Google+ (.4%), Tumblr (.4%), Medium (.4%), Pinterest (.2%), and Snapchat (.1%) combined.

global giving report 2017

Fundraising events also inspire giving globally, inspiring 25% to give the most, followed by email and web at 21% and 12% respectively. Phone and text inspired just 0.8% and 0.6% to give the most.  61% are also inspired to give in the holidays: particularly around Christmas.

Most donors are happy that the organisations they support keep them up to date with news about their work (90%), and 91% agree that these organisations are effective in communicating their thanks for donations.

Gender split

The majority of survey respondents were female (73%). The top cause for both male and female donors was children and youth, with both supported by 13% of respondents. Animals came second for female donors at 11%, followed by religious services / faith causes at 10%, whereas for men, religious services / faith came second at 12%, followed by health & safety with 10%.

Both men and women globally prefer to give online (61%), with men then preferring direct mail (16%) and fundraising events (11%). For women this was the other way round.

global giving report

Women are most inspired to give by social media: 27%, fundraising events: 25%, and email: 21%. Social media is in third place for men however at 19%. They are more inspired by fundraising events (23%), and email (23%). Women are also more likely to regularly attend fundraising events (62% vs 53%), to volunteer (68% vs 63%) and have donated to a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign (35% vs 26%). Slightly more men however, participate in a regular giving programme at 57% vs 53%.

Trends by generation

Millennial donors

  • Top 3 causes: Children & youth 14%, Human & civil rights 11%, Women & girls 9%
  • Millennials Prefer to Give: Online 62%, Fundraising events 16%, Mobile 9%
  • Most Inspired to Give By: Social media 33%, Fundraising events 26%, Email 20%

Generation X donors

  • Top 3 causes: Children & youth 14%, Animals 11%, Human services 10%
  • Generation Xers Prefer to Give: Online 59%, Fundraising events 16%, Direct mail 11%
  • Most Inspired to Give By: Social media 28%, Fundraising events 24%, Email 20%

Baby boomer donors

  • Top 3 causes: Religious services & faith 12%, Human services 11%, Children & youth 11%
  • Baby Boomers Prefer to Give: Online 59%, Direct mail 19%, Fundraising events 12%
  • Most Inspired to Give By: Fundraising events 24%, Email 23%, Social media 19%

The personal touch

Overall, donors like having a personal connection with the organisations they support and technology is playing an important role in enabling this. 66% of donors have volunteered in the last 12 months. 44% were inspired to do so by the fundraising event, with 22% inspired by an email, 15% by social media, and 13% by a website. Those who had attended a fundraising event were mainly inspired to do so by email (38%), social media (28%, and other events (23%). Of those who had volunteered, 97% felt their work made a difference, and 85% also donated to the organisation they had helped.

Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer campaigns are quite popular globally too with 44% having donated to a crowdfunding campaign in the last 12 months, and 33% to a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

The full report with more findings on global giving trends is available for download.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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