Survey Shows Social Media Users are Giving to Charity – and Sharing the News

New American Red Cross Poll Released at the Start of the Holiday Giving Season

A new survey by the American Red Cross found that seven in 10 social users are giving to charity—online and offline—and many are sharing about their donation on social media.

114706 Holiday Poll Infographic FINAL 300 dpiThe survey findings on charity giving by social media users come just before the holiday giving season, an important time for many nonprofits. The Red Cross is kicking off its annual holiday campaign that urges people to make financial donations or give blood during the holiday season.

These new survey results show yet another way that social activity is impacting nonprofits and their work.

The Red Cross survey found that 71 percent of those active on social networks donated to a charity in the past 12 months. Of those, six in 10 have donated online, revealing that not only the generosity of social media users, but also highlighting how online channels can spur charitable giving.

One notable finding from the survey is that personal appeals from friends matter more than trending topics and gimmicks important key to motivating social media users to donate to charity.

The national online survey of 1,021 adults conducted October 16-19 found that in the online space, a personal connection is particularly important when deciding to give to charity. The majority (70 percent) of social media users would take some kind of action in response to a friend posting a story on social media about making a charitable donation.

Moreover, while only three percent of respondents said social media was the most effective way for the charity itself to request a donation, the number jumped to 19 percent when asked if they would likely donate money to a charity if they saw a friend post about a recent donation.

Social Users are in it to Give, Not Receive

While trends online and in the media can draw new attention to a charity, 72 percent said a charity’s popularity in the media or trending status on Twitter made no difference in their decision to donate.

And the survey found that users are interested in giving, not receiving, as 51 percent said that receiving something like a memento, ornament or piece of clothing in exchange for  a charitable donation would  not increase their likelihood to give.

Other Key Findings

While not at the levels of awareness of the Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping days, Giving Tuesday is on the minds of more than two in five social users (41 percent) who are aware of the charitable day of giving, which is December 2 this year. And nearly half (47 percent) of those aware of Giving Tuesday said they planned to participate this year.

Survey details: Telephone survey of 1,021 U.S. adults (508 men and 513 women) 18 years and older on October 16-19, 2014 conducted in ORC International’s CARAVAN®  survey. The online omnibus study is conducted twice a week among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,000 adults.

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