According to the Bank of America’s latest survey of high net worth giving (done in conjunction with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University), major gift donors are like the rest of us plebeians in one respect …

They don’t like to be over-solicited and they don’t like to be asked for the wrong amount (38% cite this reason).

It’s hard to imagine that a nonprofit would ‘get it wrong’ in soliciting donors with such giving potential. After all, results are based on a nationwide sample of 700 households with a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding the value of their home) and/or an annual household income of $200,000 or more.

But too many nonprofits just don’t know who their major prospects might actually be. [Our colleagues at DonorTrends can fix that.]

In 2011, 30% stopped giving to at least one nonprofit they previously supported. And these are the well-cared for donors.

Other reasons they stop giving:

  • The nonprofit organization they supported changed leadership or activities (29%).
  • The donor personally changed philanthropic focus or decided to support other causes (27%).
  • The donor’s household circumstances changed (e.g., financial, relocation, employment) (22%).
  • The donor was no longer personally involved with the organization (12%).

The wealthy do give strategically. According to the survey:

“The majority of wealthy donors (71%) have a specific strategy in place to guide their charitable giving. This is further evidenced by the fact that 81% of donors apply a certain level of focus to their charitable activity, giving to a targeted set of organizations based on geography or a specific cause or issue. This is compared to 16% who give with no particular focus to a large number of organizations.”

And the top five motivations for giving:

  • Moved at how gift can make a difference (74%)
  • Feel financially secure (71%)
  • Support same orgs./causes annually (68%)
  • Giving to an efficient organization (68%)
  • Give back to the community (62%)

This is a ‘must read’ report for major gift prospectors. Key findings are here. Full report is here.



This article was posted in: Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, DonorTrends / DonorVoice, Major donors, Nonprofit management.
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