A changing donor: we need them but what do they need? Blog #1

It is obvious that charities need donors, but it is less clear what donors need? This is an important question, since philanthropy is changing and with it the donors. Today’s generation of givers is less religious, less prosocial but higher educated. What do these donors expect from charities before and after they made a donation?

Hé! Each month I will upload a new blog series. Each series will have one central subject; the subject of this month is ‘A changing donor’. A series consists out of several separate blogs. This is the first blog of the ‘A changing donor’ series. This blog consists out of a preview of the series of this month.  

Philanthropy is changing

Philanthropy is changing, and with it, the donors. Fewer individuals donate and that this is partially explained by segregation (Bekkers, de Wit & Felix, 2017a). However, most religious groups donate to religious causes and in less extent to other causes (Bekkers & Schuyt, 2008). Thus, the lower level of religious individuals represented in the Dutch population, cannot fully explain the lower level of giving to charities as they already donated most of their money to religious causes. None the less, in the Netherlands charities are experiencing a decrease in giving (Bekkers, Schuyt & Gouwenberg, 2017b). Therefore, there must be an additional reason, next to segregation, why fewer individuals are making a donation.

Bekkers et al. (2017a) found that a second explanation behind the lower participation rate was the declining prosocial values. Also, the increasing level of education is connected to the declining generosity. It makes sense, that if charities are using the same solicitation methods as always while the donor preferences are changing, these methods are less effective in assembling donations.

What do they need?

It is obvious that nonprofits need donors, but what do donors need? Today’s generation of givers is less religious, less prosocial but higher educated. What do these donors need and expect from charities before and after they made a donation?

In upcoming blogs of this blog series we will discuss several changes and expectations. For instance, more than ever donors care about their impact: what can my donation achieve/change. Also, donors do not want to be used as an ATM/cash cow: they also want to provide nonprofits with suggestions and ideas. More about this in the upcoming weeks! Stay tuned for more.


Bekkers, R., & Schuyt, T. (2008). And who is your neighbor? Explaining denominational differences in charitable giving and volunteering in the Netherlands. Review of Religious Research, 74-96.

Bekkers, R., Schuyt, T. N. M., & Gouwenberg, B. M. (2017). Geven in Nederland 2017: Giften, Sponsoring, Legaten en Vrijwilligerswerk.

Site of Geven in Nederland



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