1 in 4 U.S. Adults Identifies as a Social Donor, and Their Loyalty to Nonprofits Is Up

June 14 | 2023

New OneCause research shows a promising trend in deepening engagement amongst social donors 

A new OneCause research study found that social donor loyalty continues to trend upward as nonprofits regain momentum and re-establish fundraising equilibrium. Of the 1,101 social donors surveyed who donated to or participated in a nonprofit event or peer-to-peer campaign in the last 12 months, 75% said they would definitely sponsor or participate in another event at the same organization. This is up 5 percentage points from last year, and 9 points since 2021. 

The 2023 Giving Experience Study is the fundraising technology company’s fourth social donor study and further examines how generosity has changed in a post-pandemic fundraising landscape. The study’s survey results offer a glimpse into the mindset of today’s social donors and explore what these donors expect from the social giving experience, what motivates them to trust and engage with nonprofits, and what influences their giving behaviors. 

“After years of ups and downs, one thing is certain: social donor expectations continue to shift,” said Steve Johns, chief executive officer of OneCause. “Understanding changes in their expectations and giving trends is paramount for nonprofits as they navigate evolving donor expectations in a changing philanthropic landscape. Our mission is to equip nonprofits with fundraising insights that will deepen donor loyalty and steward generosity with their supporters.” 

The study polled 1,101 social donors in the United States who took at least one of the following actions in the 12 months prior to the survey: 

  • Donated to or attended a fundraising event like a gala or auction 
  • Sponsored someone or participated in a peer-to-peer fundraising event like a walk, run, or ride 
  • Donated or requested donations as part of a fundraising challenge, occasion, or giving day 

In addition to a rise in social donor loyalty, other key findings include: 

  • Social giving is getting back to “normal.” During the pandemic, the number of social donors grew. As more people and households dramatically increased their average screentime, so did their access and participation in online giving opportunities. This year, the number of social donors returned to 2018 levels. Approximately 23% of consumers 18 years of age and older reported having made some type of social donation. 
  • In-person events are back in a big way, and donors expect quality. Eight-in-ten social donors reported that their last giving experience was in person. Among event-goers who attended functions like galas and golf tournaments, that number is even higher. However, fewer event-goers rated their experience as excellent this year, signaling changing expectations for this subset of donors. Many donors also say it is important to offer choice and options at an event, like VIP experiences and different ticket packages. 
  • Mission, trust, and ease share the podium as top generosity motivators. Social donors seem to be returning to their passions when it comes to philanthropy, with mission being the top motivator in this year’s study. Ease has been a top three motivator in each social donor study since 2018 and remains a core motivator for today’s donors. Donors reported that trust remains a vital connection and contributor to their giving. 
  • Social donor demographics indicate narrowing access. During the pandemic, social giving opened doors for younger, more diverse donors. However, in this year’s data, demographics are shifting back to pre-pandemic levels.  
  • There are new opportunities for social donor retention and recurring giving. Certain groups of social donors, such as event donors, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, men, donors who gave $500 or more, and urban donors reported being more likely to become regular annual or monthly donors. 

“The data is this report provides nonprofits with endless opportunities and datapoints to help cultivate lasting relationships with social donors,” added Johns. “We’re delighted to share the 2023 Giving Experience Study to equip nonprofits with self-reported insights to deepen donor loyalty and enable effective connections with social donors of all ages and demographics.” 

Download a complimentary copy of the 2023 Giving Experience Study to read the full findings and register for the Key Findings Webinar to dive into the data. 

About the Survey 

The online survey of 1,101 social donors was conducted by Edge Research between March 28-April 12, 2023. Social donors are defined as anyone who self-reports giving to at least one charitable organization by attending a fundraising event; participating or sponsoring someone in a fundraising activity like a run, walk or ride; or donating or requesting donations for an occasion, challenge, or giving month or day within in the last 12 months. Data is self-reported, not transactional. Edge Research worked with an established industry sampling partner, consisting of opt-in research participants. This is a non-probability/convenience sample. Quotas were set to ensure incoming data (prior to screening for charitable donations) was census representative in terms of age and gender, region, and race/ethnicity. 

About OneCause

OneCause is driving the future of fundraising with easy-to-use digital fundraising solutions that help nonprofits improve the giving experience and raise more money. OneCause builds technology that optimizes everyday generosity, making it easier for nonprofit organizations to fundraise and for nonprofit supporters to give. Since 2008, OneCause has helped over 10,000 nonprofits in the United States and Canada raise more than $5 billion for their missions. Headquartered in Indianapolis, OneCause is committed to driving innovation in the charitable sector, bringing together nonprofit professionals across the world for the annual Raise Conference to exchange ideas that further fundraising. For more information, visit www.onecause.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Media Contact:
Sarah Sebastian