News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research
Letter from the Director
Summer means quieter months on campuses across the nation as most students, faculty, and staff are enjoying their summer break. This is a time to reflect on the previous months and get energized for fall activities. For development professionals, this is a suitable time to undertake data hygiene projects to ensure that quality data resides in CRMs. Along with data projects, advancement shops should take time to understand the constituents in their CRMs. This will enable fundraisers to reach the right groups at the right time and help strategize activities for a successful rest of the year.
The Generosity Commission, an independent project of Giving USA, recently published the Generosity Insights Report that provides information on what motivates people to give and volunteer. The Generosity Commission’s mission is to “celebrate and support Americans’ spirit of generosity as expressed through everyday giving, volunteering, and other forms of civic engagement.” In order to gather insight on the generosity of people, the Generosity Commission analyzed national media, nationwide opinion surveys, and focus groups on Americans’ attitudes and actions around philanthropy. Insights from this report reveal that the number one reason that motivates people to give to nonprofits is personal and not influenced by external activities. As you might already know, personal connections and interests drive philanthropy. “Almost half (47 percent) were most motivated to give or volunteer to contribute to something they care deeply about, and 61 percent agreed that giving and volunteering is how they express values.” Institutions that would like to reach fundraising success might benefit from using language that connects to the emotions of constituents as well as demonstrating the value of their generosity.
Furthermore, the Generosity Insights Report examines individuals and identifies six distinct profiles of audiences – super givers, connection seekers, next-generation doers, civic-minded hopefuls, show-me scrutinizers, and apathetic non-givers. Using psychographic questions, these groups were identified by their different mindsets around giving and volunteering. Institutions will benefit from understanding the characteristics that make up different profiles and how uniquely each of these groups can be engaged for fundraising. For instance, super givers are individuals who have higher incomes and aspire to be generous. They are willing to be champions and invite others to share their passion. We can engage super givers by encouraging them to build connections with their communities through giving and showing the impact and value of their philanthropic gifts. Connection seekers, next-generation doers, and civic-minded hopefuls all held optimistic attitudes about generosity, but also exposed barriers that held them back from giving. Details on each of these groups and engagement strategies can be found in the report.
According to the 2022 Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index, the United States is among the top ten countries that are the most generous in the world. We are fortunate to witness the philanthropic achievements of those around us, however, there is space for improvement and we should encourage our constituents to participate in more activities at our institutions. I hope you can utilize the insight from the report to further advance your fundraising efforts.
As always, please feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments, or any assistance with fundraising research!
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