Jan 10, 2017

Know Your Donors: Studies Say Who Donates the Most

Know Your Donors: Studies Say Who Donates the Most

So, you plan this big charity event, and you plan everything down to the last detail.

It comes to the night of your event, and you are ecstatic:

Until you see the results.

That leaderboard definitely didn’t get up where it needed to be.

What did you do wrong?

Targeting Your Donors

Obviously, it could be a lot of things at this point. We don’t have all the information we need to make that determination. However, one thing it could have been was a problem with targeting.

In any industry, in order to make a sale, you have to know your customers. What do they want, like, need, buy, etc.? Then, when you really know them, you can give them what they are looking for and much more easily close the deal.

That same truth applies to the nonprofit industry. In order to get your potential donors to buy, you have to really know them, inside and out.

To figure this out, there are a lot of things you can do.

  • Conduct interviews and studies – and just come out and ask your current donors what made them want to give.
  • Do internet research to see if others in your specific field have already done some donor analysis for you.
  • Talk to your staff and volunteers and see how the people that support your organization look and act.

I could keep going – and maybe one day I well, but not today. That’s not exactly what this post is about.

Survey Says…

When it comes down to knowing your donors, the internal research is always the best: because your donors are unique to you. However, if you want to talk general terms, statistically, there are tons of studies out there that look at just who are these elusive donors.

  • Which gender gives the most?
  • Are religious-minded people more or less likely to give?
  • What age range makes the most donations?
  • Are your volunteers likely to also be donors?
  • What country donates the most?
  • Which US states donate the most?
  • Are the states that donate a lot likely to be blue or red leaning?
  • Is a donation more likely to come from an individual, a person, or a foundation?
  • Plus, how much does a person’s wealth come into play when it comes to donating?

These are good starting places for you to get your legwork up and running. However, to hopefully help speed up the process, I have gathered some information that I have seen and rounded it all up in a nice little infographic for you.

Notes on the Infographic

A few notes for you about this:

  1. I tried to use the newest studies I could find, but sometimes, I just couldn’t find anything that new.
  2. Take all studies with a grain of salt. I tried to pick only trustworthy sources, but it is so easy to be a little biased without even realizing it and skewing results.
  3. Still do your own research about your own donors! Yes. Studies suggest that females donate more than males. But if your organization is a Men’s Activist Group, then you still probably want to target men – because most women probably aren’t interested in funding you. Now, that’s an obvious one, but there are others that may be closer to the line. Look at who has donated to you in the past and draw a portrait from that too.
  4. I have all my source linked at the bottom, but you can just click this link to get a PDF version of the Know Your Donor Infographic, and then you can find the links right in it.

Know Your Donors Infographic

View PDF Here!


1. The Gender Gap in Charitable Giving

2. Religious Americans Give More, New Study Finds

3. Charitable Giving: Baby Boomers Donate More, Study Shows

4. Are Millennials the Most Generous Generation?

5. Volunteers OR Donors? Try Again.

6. America, New Zealand, and Canada Top List of World’s Most Generous Nations

7. 2016’s Most Charitable States

8. Giving Statistics

9. The Complicated Relationship Between Wealth and Generosity


2024 trends report
June 10, 2024

Innovate, Improve, Succeed: Topline Results from the 2024 Trends Report 

In a time of fundraising shortfalls, economic uncertainties, staffing shortages, and day-to-day operational challenges, nonprofit…

Read More
Strategic sustainability meeting
April 17, 2024

What You Need to Know About Strategic Sustainability for Nonprofits

Achieving financial sustainability as a nonprofit is no easy task. With financial obstacles like high…

Read More
nonprofit outreach
April 8, 2024

7 Tips On How To Build An Effective Outreach Strategy

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest path to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise…

Read More

What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

Dawn L.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County