Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nonprofit Report In Spotlight

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - One-third of U.S. adults (32%) have less than positive feelings toward America's charitable organizations (1) and the same number (32%) thinks that the nonprofit sector in America has pretty seriously gotten off in the wrong direction, according to a survey by Harris Interactive(R).

While a majority of adults may have positive feelings toward nonprofits (68% give them a score of 51 or higher out of 100) and most (92%) households have contributed to a charity in the last year (up from 80% in October 2005), only one in 10 (10%) strongly agrees that charitable organizations are honest and ethical in their use of donated funds. Almost half (48%) somewhat agrees with this sentiment, while slightly more than one- quarter (27%) somewhat or strongly disagrees that these organizations use donated funds honestly and ethically, and another 15 percent are not sure.

These are some of the results from the latest Harris Interactive DonorPulse survey, conducted quarterly, designed to track trends related to charity and philanthropy in the United States. This latest survey was conducted online in the United States between January 11 and 17, 2006 among 2,720 adults ages 18 and older, of whom 2,523 donated money to a charitable organization in the past year, and 1,672 volunteered their time to a charitable organization in the past year. The next wave of the DonorPulse survey will field in May.

Despite their ambivalence about the direction they see the sector headed in, the vast majority of Americans continue to make cash donations to individual nonprofit organizations. The survey also suggests that 2006 charitable contributions will remain steady based on people's expectations of what they will give this year.

* More than nine in 10 adults (92%) say they or someone in their household
made a financial contribution to a nonprofit organization in the past
year, up from 80 percent when last asked in October 2005.

* About half (49%) of those who made contributions during the past year
gave less than $500, while six percent say they donated $5,000 or more.

* In 2005, the largest percentages of donors gave to churches and
religious organizations (50%) and disaster relief organizations (47%),
followed by community groups and programs (35%), human service
organizations (34%) and organizations that serve youth and children
(30%).

* Of those who are considering making contributions in 2006, 68 percent
say they expect to give about the same amount they did in 2005, while 17
percent say they expect to give more and 16 percent say they expect to
give less.

David Clayton, Vice President of the Nonprofit and Social Issues Research Group at Harris Interactive, comments, "This survey highlights the American public's tremendous commitment to the principles of charity and philanthropy. It also suggests that nonprofits could communicate more to the public about the real improvements in individual lives and communities that their altruism translates into."

Some adults choose to do their part by donating their time. About two-thirds (64%) of those who have participated in a volunteer activity do so at least once per month with 36 percent volunteering on a daily or weekly basis.

Clayton goes on to say, "Even with some ambivalence and concern about some dimensions of the nonprofit sector, people are definitely showing their support as they invest significant amounts of discretionary time and money."

Throughout the survey there are noticeable differences in attitudes toward charitable organizations and the amount of time and money donated by age. Some of these include:

* Younger adults are more likely than older adults to have positive
feelings toward charitable organizations. For example, 83 percent of
those ages 30 to 39 and 88 percent of those ages 18 to 24 give
charitable organizations a score of 51 or higher (out of 100), compared
to only 53 percent of those ages 65 and older.

* One-third (33%) of those ages 65 and older somewhat or strongly disagree
with the statement that most organizations are honest and ethical in
their use of donations, compared to only 20 percent of those ages 30 to
39.

* Three-quarters (75%) of those ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 29 that they or
members of their household have made a financial contribution in the
past year, compared to 95 percent of those ages 50 to 64 and 65 and
older.

* Just over half (52%) of those ages 18 to 24 and 59 percent of those ages
25 to 29 volunteer at least monthly, compared to 64 percent of those
ages 50 to 64 and 72 percent of those ages 65 and older.

For more infromation contained in this report, visit Harris Interactive Inc. (http://www.harrisinteractive.com), which based in Rochester, New York. It is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market research firm in the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and for its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry. Long recognized by its clients for delivering insights that enable confident business decisions, the Company blends the science of innovative research with the art of strategic consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to measurable and enduring value.

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