Survey: People Feeling Less Charitable This Year

Americans are showing less passion for charitable-related initiatives this holiday season, a potential warning sign for advertisers who have been increasingly tapping into this emotional marketing message, according to a survey conducted by Omnicom's agency Ketchum. 

Those specifically planning to donate to disaster relief has decreased 18% over the last year, despite the fact that 2018 is likely to surpass 2017 with 11 disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion.

Just 40% of those polled in the survey plan to give money in 2018, down from 49% in 2017. And 29% expect to volunteer, down from 32%.

The ways in which people make their donations is shifting as well. Although cause-related product purchases and point-of-sale donations remain prevalent, at 55% and 44%, respectively, both have declined slightly since 2017. 



“2018 was a charged year, with many people having very strong opinions about issues they care deeply about," says Monica Marshall, senior vice president and director, Ketchum Purpose. "We saw an increase in passionate participation in causes, and even rage-giving. On top of that, the U.S. was inundated with disaster after disaster, and these factors were likely major drivers of the giving fatigue identified by this study.”

Still, companies continue to play an active role in how and whether people donate. While disaster support has not been a priority for direct giving this year, half of Americans are more likely to buy holiday gifts from companies that support disaster preparedness and relief.

“We continue to see consumers preferring brands that drive awareness and funds for causes,” says Marshall. “This means companies committed to issues that align with their mission and their customers’ values can differentiate while increasing consumer loyalty." 

Volunteering ranks higher among millennials (40%) than Gen Xers (23%) and Boomers (21%). Older Americans, by comparison, are more likely to open up their wallets with 51% planning to make direct charitable contributions.

“Despite disaster giving fatigue, there are still many signs that people want to help others with contributions that matter," stated Michael Anderson, corporate reputation specialist, Ketchum. 

The 2nd annual Disaster Relief Holiday Giving Study, conducted in partnership with Ketchum’s Analytics specialty, Research Now, queried 1,000 Americans online about their expected charitable behaviors and attitudes during this holiday season during November 5-9. 


1 comment about "Survey: People Feeling Less Charitable This Year".
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  1. Ginger Cookie from Consultant, December 18, 2018 at 8:33 a.m.

    Not surprising from the standpoint that select areas (e.g. mining, industrial agr.) of our U.S. private sector continues to pollute unabated, for capitalistic/share holder reasons which on one hand is fine, but beyond media fatigue to donate, why should citizens have to pick up the slack that in aggregrate with spewing out emissions, America doesn't even abide by its "agreed" Paris Agreement's benchmarks..neither does China over the past several years. 

    The outlook is far bigger with industry first, and getting to the "root" of trying to minimize what increasingly seems where at a point of no return relative to record level of annual  "natural" disasters... and who will contribute, the little guy or the big goliath.

    With only 1,000 polled, albeit online which provides less perspective with nuances/attidunal, I'd like to see HOW the point of millennials at 40% have ranked in volunteering...defined how?  

    The stats shown seem quite bereft of revealing more depth on a critical subject. 

    Also with the causes, they should have segmented categories, the loyalty factor % for helping "Save" the earth, etc. perhaps that part isn't shown for public view.

    Anyway....with U.S. donations way down at nearly 10% in $$$...and discretionay spend/ PCE index up beyond just the essentials e.g food/ limited as this survey is at just 1,000 ppl...telling in one's priorities, sense of giving back through "real" participation and action. 

    Just commenting!   

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