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Report Provides New Ideas on Arts, Education, Health Fundraising

(June 26, 2006) A new report on household giving in the United States identifies several key factors, beyond just wealth and income, as to why people give to arts, education and health charities.

Charitable Giving to Education, Health and Arts: An Analysis of Data Collected in the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study, 2003, funded by Chicago-based Campbell & Company, analyzes information originally collected about household giving by the 2003 Center on Philanthropy Panel Study. The report examined the effects of several different variables – beyond wealth and income – on giving to determine critical determinants of why people give to certain types of charities: arts, education and health charities.

Activities such as volunteering and giving to other subsectors were very positive determinants of a household giving to any of the three types of groups in the study. Other factors, such as the number of people in the household or geography, could be positive or negative depending on the type of organization asking for support.

Arts

One of the most important factors for giving to arts organizations is contributions to other causes. Donors to arts organizations were the most likely contribute to other causes, giving to, on average. 3.75 other causes or subsectors (such as religion, environment, health, etc.). The report suggests that arts groups consider partnerships with other organizations to take advantage of this propensity by arts donors.

In particular, such groups should consider partnerships with education organizations, as level of education is the strongest predictor of arts participation and giving.

Arts giving tended to decrease with family size and among those households that reported active Catholic or Protestant affiliation.

Education

After income and wealth, the only other factor with a strong positive correlation to giving to education was philanthropic activity (giving and volunteering) in other subsectors. The report suggests that these groups develop their volunteer ranks to encourage future contributions.

Other factors tending to affect giving to education institutions include family size (the larger the family, the more likely to give) and presence of a woman, either as the head of the household or part of a married couple (also making the household more likely to give).

Health

The strongest determinant for giving to health charities, after household income, is philanthropic activity in other subsectors.

Health giving is lower in households headed my men. However, unlike giving to education, health giving is not affected by the presence of a woman in a male-headed household.

Those households identifying themselves as Jewish (either in faith or culture) were more likely to give to health organizations.

Reaching Occasional or Non-Donors

The report notes that because it focuses primarily on factors other than wealth and income, the conclusions it reaches regarding fundraising may be most relevant to annual fund and membership campaigns.

“The importance of the donor already giving to other types of causes cannot be understated,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “Once people begin giving, most of them become very involved and tend to “share the wealth” with a variety of organizations and causes they support. As this report implies, the challenge remains to encourage the non-donors to begin giving.”

About the Report

The report was developed by the Campbell & Company research fellow at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, underwritten by Campbell & Company.

The executive summary of the report is available on the Campbell & Company website. A copy of the entire report is available upon request by emailing study@campbellcompany.com.

Campbell & Company is a U.S.-based firm offering counsel in advancement planning, fundraising, marketing communications and executive search.

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