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International Survey Reveals Trends, Preferences and Habits behind Philanthropic Giving Worldwide

Fundraising research
September 12, 2017

Donors around the world overwhelmingly prefer to give online, according to the 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report, published by Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit operator of the .org, .ngo and .ong domains, and Nonprofit Tech for Good.

By surveying more than 4,000 donors in 95 countries, the inaugural report provides a comprehensive understanding of how and why donors worldwide are giving to and engaging with non-governmental (NGOs), nonprofits and charitable organizations. 

In addition, the survey evaluates the role that technology plays in communications and philanthropic giving across continents and demographics.

Key global findings include:

  • Donors worldwide prefer to make financial contributions online, which is a conclusive generational sentiment as well – 62 percent of millennials and 59 percent of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, respectively, prefer online giving.
  • 92 percent of donors believe NGOs are ethical and can be trusted, and 96 percent believe these organizations are essential for creating social change.
  • 45 percent of donors give to NGOs located outside of their country of residence.
  • Of online donors, 42 percent cite social media as the tool that most inspires them to give; of these donors, 62 percent list Facebook as most inspiring channel, followed by Twitter (15 percent) then Instagram (10 percent).
  • Donors most trust websites and email addresses that use the .org (72 percent), .edu (7 percent), and .ngo (6 percent) domains.
  • Social media is listed by millennials (33 percent) and Gen Xers (28 percent) as the tool that most inspires giving, while Baby Boomers list fundraising events (24 percent) as most inspirational.
  • 67 percent of donors have volunteered with an NGO within the past year. Of these volunteers, 97 percent also made a financial contribution to the organization with which they volunteer.
  • Both male and female donors list organizations that support children and youth as a top preference.
  • Liberal donors are most likely to give to human/civil rights causes, while conservative-leaning donors are more likely to give to religious/faith services.  

"Effectively engaging with donors is crucial – the lifeblood in some cases – for the NGO community to successfully achieve their mission," said Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry. "Insights from the report provide a valuable cultural examination, globally and within defined regions. But more importantly, the findings will assist NGOs around the world in understanding who, when and how to target the philanthropically minded within their country and beyond their borders."

Highlights of Donors in North America

  • 62 percent of North American donors/respondents prefer to give online, compared to 15 percent preferring direct mail and 13 percent favoring special events.
  • Donors are roughly split by the medium that most inspires them give: One quarter said fundraising events, while 23 percent said email, and another 23 percent said social media.
  • Facebook is the social media that inspires most giving by far (63 percent), followed by Twitter (15 percent) and Instagram (10 percent).
  • Favorite causes were widely spread among respondents, but the top three were Religious Service and Faith (12 percent), Children and Youth (11 percent) and Human Services (11 percent).

"Examining donor preferences worldwide clearly showed an overwhelming response from donors in wealthy countries, which we believe is in direct correlation to the lack of technology tools NGOs have in developing countries to effectively engage their supporters," said Heather Mansfield, founder of Nonprofit Tech for Good. "Our hope is that future versions of this report will reflect a more diverse donor community, especially as internet infrastructure evolves enabling more donors to emerge from all corners of the globe."

Fielded earlier this year, the 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report surveyed 4,084 donor respondents from 95 countries across Africa, Asia, Australia & Oceania, Europe, North America and South America, including gender, generational and ideological analysis. 

For more information on the survey's findings and methodology, and to download the full report and graphics, please visit: http://www.givingreport.ngo.

About Public Interest Registry
Public Interest Registry is a nonprofit organization that operates the .org top-level domain — the world's third largest "generic" top-level domain with more than 10.4 million domain names registered worldwide – and the newly launched .ngo and .ong domains and OnGood community website. As an advocate for collaboration, safety and security on the internet, Public Interest Registry's mission is to educate and enable the global noncommercial community to use the internet more effectively, and to take a leadership position among internet stakeholders on policy and other issues relating to the domain naming system.

About Nonprofit Tech for Good
With nearly 100,000 monthly visitors and more than one million followers on social networks, Nonprofit Tech for Good is a leading social and mobile media resource for nonprofit professionals. Created and managed by Heather Mansfield, Nonprofit Tech for Good focuses on providing valuable, easy-to-understand information, news, and resources related to nonprofit technology, online communications, and mobile and social fundraising.