Mid value donors and the credit crunch

October 21 2008 - Mark Phillips

In 2007, Bluefrog undertook a huge qualitative study on mid-value donors – those who give cash gifts of between £100 and £1,000. We spoke to over a hundred people who gave to a wide range of UK charities. If you’d like to see the full report, you can get a copy here. This was a qualitative study and, as such, is about motives, attitudes and feelings behind their giving behaviour.

I’ve been concerned about how our mid-value supporters are responding to recent appeals, so we decided to go back to as many of our original participants as possible to question them on how the credit crunch has influenced their attitudes to giving.

It’s very early days as we have only had time to speak to a small percentage of the original sample, but I thought I’d share the outcome of an early de-brief on what they are thinking and doing.

1. Unless someone has been directly hit by the crunch, they are in denial and have no plans to make a significant cut back in their general expenditure. If they are questioning spending, giving less to the charities they currently support is not on their agenda.

Some people are looking at having less expensive holidays and one person is taking left-overs into the office for lunch. But are they going to really cut back? No, not at the moment.

2. If things did get bad, they claim they would still want to support their favourite charities at their current level but would give slightly less to the remaining ones. Cutting back on giving to a favourite charity would make them feel very guilty and, for the same reason, they would favour smaller organisations over the larger, well-known charities.

3. Giving to new charities was far less attractive to them. They would continue to give if someone asked them to sponsor them or if they passed a street collector, but setting up a new regular gift, much like any new expenditure decision in this economic climate, would provoke thoughts of should I really be doing this?

I’ll report back on the final paper (which will be available at www.bluefroglondon.com) through this blog.

  • Dan Russell

    Thanks for this, I’ve just read the Mid Value donors report and found it very good at giving concrete expression to a lot of the suppositions I’ve made about our donors.