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US Attitudes toward Charities and Non-profits market report

"Giving to charities and non-profit organizations reached a historic high in 2015. Individuals account for the largest portion of donors, followed by foundation. Financial support is estimated to grow slightly from 2015-16, though declines in volunteerism may prompt organizations to promote the importance of giving back to organizations in a more physical way."
- Gina Cavato, Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Young adults are skeptical of company partnerships with charities and non-profits
  • Adults want to donate, but likely won’t if they’re unfamiliar with the organization
  • Circulating information via media isn’t as successful as through word of mouth

In 2015, the non-profit sector experienced another historically successful year of support, with monetary giving in the US reaching a record-breaking $373.25 billion. With technology increasing the opportunities to donate, the non-profit sector will likely continue to see high levels of support. Donations remain the most popular form of support, while volunteerism rates have declined. Supporting organizations is often derived from a desire to help those in need, though unfamiliar organizations my struggle to find support. Companies that partner with non-profit organizations are perceived positively by consumers, though younger adults are more likely to be more engaged.

The terms “charity” and “non-profit” are often used interchangeably. However, all charities are non-profits, but not all non-profits are charities. For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Charity: a non-profit organization whose main goals are philanthropic to benefit the general public.
  • Non-profit: refers to an organization whose goals are to the mutual benefit of the participants; with none of the net profits benefitting any individual or the general public.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • The issues
            • Young adults are skeptical of company partnerships with charities and non-profits
              • Figure 1: Perceptions of companies that support charities/non-profits – Self-serving, by the iGeneration vs Millennials, June 2016
            • Adults want to donate, but likely won’t if they’re unfamiliar with the organization
              • Figure 2: Attitudes toward charities and non-profits, June 2016
            • Circulating information via media isn’t as successful as through word of mouth
              • Figure 3: Sources used to learn about a charity/non-profit, June 2016
            • The opportunities
              • Charity support increases with presence of children in the home
                • Figure 4: Types of support – Active support, by parental status, June 2016
              • iGens show interest in supporting almost all causes
                • Figure 5: Causes interested in supporting, iGeneration vs all, June 2016
              • Non-profit support provides young adults with competitive edge in professional world
                • Figure 6: Reasons for supporting charities – Select items, by generation, June 2016
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Charitable giving is strong and expected to continue growing
                  • Religious organizations generate most donations
                    • Volunteerism rates decline to historic lows
                      • Charitable giving tends to reflect GDP patterns
                      • Market Size

                        • Charitable giving sets new record high in 2015, continued growth in 2016
                          • Figure 7: Total giving, 1954-2016 (est)
                          • Figure 8: Total giving, 2011-16 (est)
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Individuals contribute the most
                          • Figure 9: Total giving, by source, 2015 and 2016 (est)
                          • Figure 10: Total giving, at current prices, by source, 2014 and 2016 (est)
                        • Religious organizations receive largest amount of donations
                          • Figure 11: Charitable giving, by charity type, 2015
                      • Market Factors

                        • Charitable giving reflects GDP pattern
                          • Figure 12: GDP change from previous period, Q1 2007-Q2 2016
                        • Rising DPI leaves more money for giving
                          • Figure 13: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-June 2016
                        • Volunteering rates dip to historic low in 2015
                          • Figure 14: Volunteering rate in the US, by gender, 2002-15
                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                        • Diverse digital options for giving likely leading to increases in donations
                          • Credit cards provide easy avenue to support organizations
                            • But corporate partnerships likely not as charitable as consumers may think
                              • Charity scams following tragedies may lead to more skeptical donors
                                • Organizations benefit from “gamifying” their support options
                                  • Donors who see their donations put to good use may repeat
                                  • What’s Working?

                                      • Funding through digital media
                                        • Facebook
                                          • “Fundraiser” pages
                                            • Figure 15: Visualizing crisis relief in Nepal, September 2015
                                          • Facebook Messenger
                                            • Figure 16: Lokai: Walk with Yeshi, August 2016
                                          • YouTube
                                            • Donation cards
                                              • Donating by watching videos
                                                • Figure 17: This tortoise could save a life – Ft. Alan Rickman, December 2015
                                              • Paying it forward with every swipe
                                                • Giving Tuesday opens Americans’ wallets and hearts
                                                • What’s Struggling?

                                                  • Charity-based credit cards give back minimally
                                                    • eCommerce contributions may not be as charitable as they seem
                                                      • AmazonSmile
                                                        • Charity scams following tragedies
                                                          • Slacktivism still popular on social media
                                                            • Volunteering sees lowest rate in 14 years
                                                            • What’s Next?

                                                              • Gamifying giving: Organizations jump on Pokémon Go bandwagon
                                                                • Social media provides a modern outlet for crowdfunding non-profits
                                                                  • Seeing viral movements making a change
                                                                    • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative setting the standard for corporate giving
                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                      • Donating items or money represent largest type of charitable support
                                                                        • Young adults are most likely to support causes and more of them
                                                                          • Lifestage affects motivations for supporting charities and non-profits
                                                                            • Word of mouth is most frequent way adults learn about charities
                                                                              • Companies’ support is seen as more sincere than self-serving
                                                                                • Organization awareness is crucial when deciding who to support
                                                                                • Types of Support

                                                                                    • Money and item donations are most popular among supporters
                                                                                      • Donations
                                                                                        • Active support
                                                                                          • Figure 18: Types of support, June 2016
                                                                                        • Digital and social media support is most popular among younger adults
                                                                                          • Figure 19: Types of support – Digital and social media, by the iGeneration vs Millennials, June 2016
                                                                                        • Supporting beyond money is strongest among iGens and Millennials
                                                                                            • Figure 20: Types of support – Active support, by the iGeneration vs Millennials, June 2016
                                                                                          • Household income determines likelihood and amount of support
                                                                                            • Figure 21: Types of support – Active support, by household income, June 2016
                                                                                          • Having children in the household increases charitable support
                                                                                            • Figure 22: Types of support – Active support, by parental status, June 2016
                                                                                        • Causes Supported in Last 12 Months

                                                                                            • Healthcare research most-supported type of charity or non-profit
                                                                                              • Human service represent strong support among adults
                                                                                                • Religion is polarizing but boasts largest financial donations
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Causes supported in last 12 months, June 2016
                                                                                                • Millennials more likely to have supported all types of charities and more of them
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Causes supported in last 12 months, Millennials vs all, June 2016
                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Causes supported in last 12 months, Millennials vs all, June 2016
                                                                                                • iGeneration more interested in supporting almost all types
                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Causes interested in supporting, iGeneration vs all, June 2016
                                                                                                • Higher household income leads to a wider range of cause support
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Causes interested in supporting, by household income, June 2016
                                                                                              • Reasons for Supporting Charities

                                                                                                  • Helping others in need is primary reason for supporting charities
                                                                                                    • Causes are more likely to be supported if its mission affects people they know
                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Reasons for supporting charities, June 2016
                                                                                                    • Younger adults value the competitive edge charity support provides
                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Reasons for supporting charities – Select items, by generation, June 2016
                                                                                                      • For parents, supporting charities is a family affair
                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Reasons for supporting charities – Select items, by parental status, June 2016
                                                                                                      • Non-Hispanic Whites most motivated to help others in need
                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Reasons for supporting charities – Select items, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2016
                                                                                                    • Sources Used to Learn About Charities and Non-profits

                                                                                                        • Word of mouth from family and friends is primary way to learn
                                                                                                          • Television and social media are important in teaching about organizations
                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Sources used to learn about a charity/non-profit, June 2016
                                                                                                            • Younger adults gaining awareness from digital media
                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Sources used to learn about a charity/non-profit – Digital media, by generation, June 2016
                                                                                                              • Those with higher household incomes learn from traditional media
                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Sources used to learn about a charity/non-profit, by household income, June 2016
                                                                                                              • Parents are more perceptive of digital media
                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Sources used to learn about a charity/non-profit – Digital media, by parental status, June 2016
                                                                                                              • Urban dwellers more aware of both traditional and digital media sources
                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Sources used to learn about a charity/non-profit – Traditional and digital media, by area, June 2016
                                                                                                            • Perceptions of Companies that Support Charities/Non-profits

                                                                                                                • Adults view company support of charities/non-profits as more sincere than self-interested
                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Perceptions of companies that support charities/non-profits, June 2016
                                                                                                                  • Men are more critical of companies’ charitable partnerships
                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Perceptions of companies that support charities/non-profits, by gender, June 2016
                                                                                                                  • Younger adults aren’t sold on company’s support of charities/non-profits
                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Perceptions of companies that support charities/non-profits – Self-serving, by the iGeneration vs Millennials, June 2016
                                                                                                                • Attitudes toward Charities and Non-profits

                                                                                                                    • Adults want to donate, but likely won’t if they’re unfamiliar
                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Attitudes toward charities and non-profits, June 2016
                                                                                                                      • Millennials want to donate, many don’t have the financial ability to do so
                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Attitudes toward charities and non-profits, by Millennials vs all, June 2016
                                                                                                                      • Adults with higher household incomes are more selective with donations
                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Attitudes about charities/non-profits, by household income, June 2016
                                                                                                                      • Urban dwellers are more encouraged and satisfied with their support
                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Attitudes toward charities and non-profits, by area, June 2016
                                                                                                                    • Consumer Segmentation

                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Charity and non-profit supporter segments, June 2016
                                                                                                                        • Enthusiastic Supporters
                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                              • Opportunities
                                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Profile of Enthusiastic Supporters, June 2016
                                                                                                                              • Open-minded Supporters
                                                                                                                                • Demographics
                                                                                                                                  • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                    • Opportunities
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Profile of Open-minded Supporters, June 2016
                                                                                                                                    • Selective Supporters
                                                                                                                                      • Demographics
                                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                          • Opportunities
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Profile of Selective Supporters, June 2016
                                                                                                                                          • Skeptical Supporters
                                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                • Opportunities
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Profile of Skeptical Supporters, June 2016
                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                                                                  • Supporting data
                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                            • Terms
                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market

                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Total giving by source, 1955-2015

                                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

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