November 24, 2014

On Social Media, Personal Ties Are Central to Charitable Giving

A majority of adults would take some sort of action—such as ‘liking,’ reposting, or commenting—after seeing a friend's social-media post about a charitable donation, according to a new study from the American Red Cross. But actually make a donation themselves? Not so fast.

A survey of 1,021 adults active on social media conducted this October found them to be a charitable group, over all: Seventy-one percent had donated at some point during the year. Nearly 60 percent of those donors did so online.

Seventy percent of those surveyed said they would take some sort of action upon seeing a friend posting about making a donation. Actions include asking the friend to share additional information, going to the charity's website to conduct research, making a donation, and "liking," reposting, or commenting on the post itself.

Giving Offline

Still, in-person, offline solicitations reign supreme.

Just 3 percent of those surveyed said they believe that the best way for charities to solicit money was through social media, and just 19 percent said they would likely make a donation if they saw on social media that a friend had donated. Seventy-two percent said that a charity's popularity in the media or trending status on Twitter had no influence on their charitable-giving decisions.

Other findings:

  • Forty-two percent of those surveyed said they are more likely to give offline this year than they were last year, trumping options like texting and social media.
  • Thirty-seven percent said they would likely respond to an in-person request for a charitable donation.
  • Forty-one percent were aware of Giving Tuesday, and nearly half of those individuals said they planned to participate.

Send an e-mail to Megan O'Neil.