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Reactive Giving

Understanding the Surge in Cause-Related Giving

April 2018

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Edge Research’s “Reactive Giving” Study Explores How the Current Political and Social Climate Impacts Charitable Donations

The study explores the phenomenon of reactive giving, who reactive givers are, and why they are giving across different generations and political affiliations.

“Today’s political and social climate are helping drive younger and first-time donors to give to charitable and cause-related organizations,” said Lisa Dropkin from Edge Research. “While rage or anger trigger some reactive giving, our data illustrate that hope and empowerment are often the underlying cause for a donation.”

Key Findings Include:

  • Reactive giving is real: Two-in-ten US donors who contributed to causes in 2017 did so at least once because they believed current political events threatened causes or beliefs near and dear to their hearts.
  • Reactive giving brought in new donors: Reactive donors were twice as likely to be first- time donors. The majority of reactive donors gave to issues, causes, or organizations they had never supported financially.
  • Reactive giving crosses party lines: Those surveyed who donated as a reaction to current social and political events are disproportionately Democrats, but still a third identify as Independents, and more than one-in-ten as Republicans.
  • Reactive giving brought in young donors: While every generation has reactive givers, younger donors were much more likely to have given this way.
  • Hope and empowerment are strong emotions: While anger propelled some donors to take notice of an issue, the main reason reactive donors cited for ultimately making a charitable contribution is two other emotions: hope and empowerment.

    Please enter your information to download the full report and infographic:

    About the Study

    Edge Research conducted an online survey of 895 U.S. donors. A non-probability sample of adults aged 18+ was drawn from a national survey panel of over two million households. The sample was controlled to be U.S. Census representative, and qualifying participants reported that they had made a monetary donation to at least one nonprofit organization/charitable cause within the last 12 months (excluding children’s school, alma mater, and place of worship). Data were collected December 5-30, 2017.

    Media Contact:

    Andy Prince



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    Download Includes:

    Full Report