Americans favor health above all causes

When it comes to charitable donations, Americans favor health above all other causes.  Grey Matter Research and Opinions4Good asked a demographically representative sample of 1,000 donors to name their one favorite donor-supported organization (excluding a local place of worship).  This wasn’t a measure of which organizations pull in the most funding, but of which brands donors favor – and fully one-third of them named a health-related organization. 

This includes 24% who favor an organization fighting a specific disease (such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, JDRF, American Cancer Society, or Alzheimer’s Association), plus 8% who name a more general health-related charity (such as Planned Parenthood or a local hospital).  Much of this is driven by donors age 50 and older, who are twice as likely as younger donors to want to support a disease-related organization above all others.  But the bad news is that lower-income donors are significantly more likely to favor disease-related organizations than are wealthier donors.

The researchers also investigated each of the hundreds of individual brands named – their Form 990 income, theater of operations, overhead ratio, and whether they’re faith-based or not.  For instance, we learned that very low overhead ratios rarely have a strong impact on what charitable brand donors favor, and that Americans tend to prefer very large organizations working globally rather than small, local charities.

For more information (and to get a copy of the full research report), go to Grey Matter Research’s Website.

This report is also covered in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s article, “Donors Were Asked What Charity They’d Support if They Could Pick Only One. Half Chose the Same 20 Groups.”