Despite early signs that the economy is rebounding, donors continue to be cautious about their giving plans, according to a report released on Wednesday.
More than half of all donors—53 percent—plan to give the same amount to charity in 2010 as they did in 2009, while 11 percent plan to decrease the amount they give, according to a survey of 1,000 people who donated at least $20 in the past year.
The online survey, which was conducted in March, was commissioned by Fenton Communications, a consulting company in New York that advises nonprofit organizations and was designed to produce a sample that mirrored the demographics of Americans who give.
Donors’ level of caution varied according to age.
Among donors age 50 and above, 66 percent said they plan to keep their giving level constant in 2010, while 13 percent plan to decrease their contributions.
By contrast, 54 percent of donors under age 35 reported that they plan to give more in 2010, while 37 percent plan to give the same amount and 9 percent plan to give less.
Good Stewardship Important to Contributors
Donors in the survey generally had a high opinion of the nonprofit world.
Eighty percent of the donors surveyed said that charities do an “excellent” or “good” job serving the public.
When asked about the characteristics of effective nonprofit organizations, donors placed a high value on groups’ financial accountability and objectivity.
Nearly eight out of ten respondents—79 percent—said that it was “extremely important” or “very important” that charities spend donations wisely and effectively.
More than three-quarters—76 percent—said that it was “extremely important” or “very important” that organizations provide “trustworthy, objective, and fact-based information to raise awareness and promote its cause or issue.”
The survey also asked participants to rank the performance of 50 large national charities. The American Diabetes Association and Special Olympics were the highest rated groups. Sixty-one percent of donors rated the groups as “extremely effective” or “very effective.”