- Tue, August 28 2007
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Today SunTrust Bank’s PR agency (Edelman) sent me a summary of a survey the bank conducted in advance of their new charity promotion. SunTrust is giving new checking account customers $100 to donate to the new customer’s favorite charity or a $50 gift card that customers can spend on themselves.
The telephone survey of 2,058 adults over the age of 18 found this:
More than half of respondents (59%) said they would prefer to give the donation to charity rather than get the cash (33%) for themselves.
I asked Edelman the obvious: Now that the charitable promotion, called MyCause, is underway, are that many people really choosing charity over cash? The reason for my question is, people are notoriously bad predictors of their behavior. They tend to answer what they feel they should say rather than what they really think. In my book, I tell the story related by Kristen Grimm about everyone in a focus group claiming how much they’d love a yellow boom box. As they left, they were given a gift of a boom box, and they got to choose the color. Most everyone picked black over yellow. This is a limitation of research that’s probably even more pervasive with charity—we all want to look charitable, after all.
Edelman said it’s too soon to tell, but I look forward to hearing more about the results when they are in. I hope people really are that generous, because I’d like to see giving-related promotions succeed.
SunTrust also asked a bunch of questions about past charitable activities (which is probably more sound than predictive data), and the results are very interesting. I applaud them for sharing this data, so we can learn from it. I also applaud SunTrust for incorporating charity into their promotions.
Here’s the run-down:
-Nine in 10 Americans regularly donate to charitable causes
-Women are more likely than men to give to a charitable cause (93% vs. 87%); women are also more inclined to choose the $100 SunTrust donation over the cash incentive (65% vs. 54%)
-Younger Americans (18-34 year olds) are also more generous with their non-monetary support than older Americans (35+ years old), and are more willing to purchase products to support a cause, volunteer with the organization, attend fundraisers and participate in large-scale events. They are also more likely to wear bracelets or other accessories associated with a cause.
-Respondents were also most likely to support causes relating to their church or other religious organization (53%); to organizations that combat hunger and poverty (50%); or to provide disaster relief from hurricanes and other natural catastrophes (48%). The non-profit organizations least likely to receive donations from survey respondents were those supporting animal causes (32%) [Note: this was pre-Michael Vick]; environmental issues (25%); or the arts and culture (21%).
-The survey also found that most Americans don’t have an “either/or” approach to supporting their favorite causes: Those who had made recent monetary donations to charity are also significantly more likely (94%) to support non-profit organizations in other ways than those who haven’t donated recently (74%).
-On average, Americans spend 4.1% of their annual household income on charitable causes; those over 55 years of age donate the largest percentage (4.6%) versus those 18-34 (3.8%)
-Across gender, age and region, Americans were most motivated to give back for two reasons: It’s the right thing to do (89%) and because they want to help others (88%). Just 26% of respondents say they donate money to receive a tax write-off
-Three-quarters of Americans (76%) prefer to support their charity of choice by giving money instead of by volunteering time
-Southern adults donate the highest proportion (4.5%) of their income to charitable causes, followed by the Midwest (4.2%), the West (4.0%) and the Northeast (3.6%)
-Two in three Americans (63%) give money directly to people in need, such as those on the street or via churches and community organizations
-Seven in 10 Americans are inclined to do business with companies that give back to their communities
For more details about the SunTrust “My Cause” poll or promotion, go here.