Data Point: At Community Foundations, Donors’ Demographics do not Predict Their Level of Satisfaction

In recent years, broad societal trends have affected community foundations and the way they engage potential donors. Increased access to data and analysis about nonprofit organizations—fueled by the growth of online resources like GuideStarGiveWell, and Charity Navigator—has empowered donors with information that would otherwise be difficult to access. The presence of online giving platforms, such as and Kiva, have changed the way donors can receive information that will inform, and services that will enable, their giving. There has also been a trend of younger givers seeking to engage differently with the charities they support than older donors.[1]


In light of these trends, we at CEP were interested to see if donors’ perceptions of the community foundations to which they give differed based on demographic characteristics – and we examined that in our newest report What Donors Value: How Community Foundations Can Increase Donor Satisfaction, Referrals, and Future Giving. The sample of donors tended to be older, white individuals (see Figure), but there was adequate diversity to look for differences based on age, gender, or race.

In our report, we noted that none of these characteristics were relevant to donors’ overall satisfaction with the foundation. In fact, none of these demographic characteristics matter much for any of the key predictors of donor satisfaction we identified: donors’ perceptions of the responsiveness of the foundation’s staff when they have a question or need assistance; donors’ perceptions of the impact the foundation has on the community; donors’ satisfaction with the foundation’s leadership in the community; or donors’ satisfaction with the financial practices of the foundation.

Mark Chaffin is a Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Effective Philanthropy.


[1] Vinay Bhagat, Pam Loeb, and Mark Rovner, “The Next Generation of American Giving: A Study on the Multichannel Preferences and Charitable Habits of Generation Y, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Matures,” Convio, Edge Research, and Sea Change Strategies (March 2010): 10,; Mark Rovner, “The Next Generation of American Giving: The Charitable Habits of Generations Y, X, Baby Boomers, and Matures,” Blackbaud (August 2013),; Sarah Duxbury, “Philanthropic foundations target young donors,” San Francisco Business Times, July 15, 2011,

, , ,
Previous Post
Leading the Change
Next Post
Five Simple Answers about the Opportunity Index

Related Blog Posts