Food For Thought

On Jan. 5th, The Huffington Post released an online graphic called: “Charity Trends: Top Places And Reaons We Give”.

This site is rich with information. Please check it out.

The short observation I would like to make here is about the “top 5 ways in which donors give” (and a contradictory figure I will mention at the end of the post). At 52%, checkout donation rings up as the most popular method to give.

I recall shopping at the Dollar General a month ago. Now, if I can stay away from the snack isle, I can be a disciplined shopper who can stay on budget. On this particular day I shopped for cleaning supplies…far far away from the dangerous chip and salsa section.

At check out, the clerk asked if I found everything I needed, scanned my items, and declared my total. As I reached into my pocket for dollars, the clerk gave a quick speech about a cause that I can give to by simply adding cents to my total (I since forgot the total of the appeal). The regret of my lost snack run was soo deep, I did not hear the name of the cause, nor did I feel deeply connected to the appeal (an issue I address in a post called “Never Ask Again”). Yet, I agreed to give.

Out of that 52% in which donors give, how many can recall the cause that they supported? The checkout appeal is quick, easy to administer, and popular. But what are the implications of an appeal mumbled in seconds; a donation given as an after thought; and an overall lack of connection to the cause that receives the funds?

Fundraising should meet the donor where they are. This statistic shows that the donor is at the checkout line. But the donor should not “checkout” of the awarding experience that accompanies a well-informed donation.

I neither praise nor condemn checkout line giving. I simply provide a caution: as fundraisers we should raise hopes, awareness, networks and support. Money keeps the lights on and allows us to serve but if we cannot inspire and maintain an inner-fire for our cause then our campaigns will fall short. Statistics show that this inner-fire is worth tending to. The same graphic sheet shows that, out of the reasons that motivated an individual to fundraise, 69% gave because they felt a personal or emotional connection to a cause.

There are two stats of interest:

*Out of the various ways to give, most did so in the checkout line (52%).

*Out of the various motives to give, most gave because they felt a personal connection (69%).

[Note: these figures are posted in the same graphic but are derived from different studies…so my conclusions assume that some generalizations can be made across the two studies].

With these two figures in mind, it appears that most people give because they care about a cause yet, they usually give in the checkout line- a place where I can only think of the spicy salsa I left behind in the snack section.

Consider these contradictory observation as food for thought.

Link To Cited Graphic:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/05/charity-trends-top-5-wher_n_1184530.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

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