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New Research Examines Evolving Social Donor Expectations
[June 28, 2022]

New Research Examines Evolving Social Donor Expectations

The study of more than 1,000 event and peer-to-peer donors provides new insight into changing donor preferences and a look back across 5 years of findings

INDIANAPOLIS, June 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- OneCause, a leader in online and event fundraising, today released findings from its latest research, The Giving Experience Study. Findings provide insights from social donors who gave to fundraising events and peer-to-peer campaigns over the past year and include what motivates their giving, when and how they will be comfortable returning to in-person events, and what influences repeat donations. The new study compares the latest survey data with findings from 2018 and 2021, examining how donor expectations have changed across generations, demographics, and by type of event involvement.

"Donor expectations and patterns of generosity have never been static, but the radical and sudden change brought about by the pandemic was unlike anything the world of philanthropy had seen before. After a dramatic shift to virtual events in 2020, donors came to expect on-demand, easy event and giving experiences," said Steve Johns, chief executive officer for OneCause. "To unlock generosity as the nonprofit world moves toward recovery, it's imperative to understand how giving motivators and donor desires have evolved."

Key findings include:

  • Social giving continues to grow. As the general population looks for ways to reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues after long periods of pandemic isolation, social giving continues to increase. In the last 12 months, 3 in 10 U.S. adults gave through auction events, peer-to-peer fundraising, or occasion/giving day campaigns. This reflects a five-year trend of steady growth in social giving.
  • Trust emerges as a key motivator; personal connection grows in importance. This year's research revealed new rising motivators influencing the attention and behavior of today's donors. While ease, mission, and impact remain key drivers of social giving, trust, personal connection, and immediacy emerged as key motivators for the first time in 2022.
  • Donors are excited about the return to in-person events but want nonprofits to offer vrtual options. A quarter of social donors said they prefer to only engage in person with organizations they donate to or mostly in person with some virtual engagement. But donors want options – 43% of social donors still prefer to engage exclusively or mostly virtually. Choice is powerful; offering multiple options for engagement personalizes the giving experience.
  • Social giving continues to unlock generosity in younger, more diverse donors through expanded access to philanthropy. Social giving and virtual engagement continue to boost access for donors who have been historically underrepresented in or excluded from philanthropy. Gen Z, Millennial, Black, and Hispanic social donors reported giving more money than last year and that they gave to more organizations.
  • Opportunities to steward social donors for retention and recurring giving. A social donor's first gift shows they value a nonprofit's work. Nonprofits have a great opportunity to cultivate lasting relationships and convert more social donors to recurring givers. Feeling like a donation makes a difference continues to be the number one reason to give again across generations.

"It's clear from five years of data that the influence of social donors on the world of philanthropy is growing," added Johns. "We're excited to be able to connect nonprofits with self-reported insights into the evolution of how this increasingly diverse group of donors prefers to give to and engage with the organizations they support." 

Additional media:

About the Survey
The online survey of 1,029 social donors was conducted by Edge Research between April 26-May 12, 2022. 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 event and online 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 raise more than $4 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  or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.   

Media Contact:
Sarah Sebastian
[email protected]
Phone: 863-604-8490

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