Personal connection to a cause is key reason for giving, says Pilotlight research

Fiona Halton, chief executive of the business coaching charity, says its online poll also shows that donors want more information about impact

Fiona Halton
Fiona Halton

Personal connection to a cause is the top reason wealthy donors give to charity, according to research by Pilotlight.

The charity, which manages teams of senior business people to coach people in other voluntary sector organisations, surveyed 163 of its business volunteers in England and Scotland, and found that 71 per cent were motivated to give because of a personal connection to a cause.

The online survey, carried out in November, attracted responses from 41 women and 122 men.

Fifty-eight per cent of them said information about the impact the charity had was a reason they gave. Twenty-seven per cent said that fundraising campaigns had influenced their decision to give.

Three in 10 said they were motivated by the funding crisis faced by charities.

Fiona Halton, chief executive of Pilotlight, said: "Donors clearly want more evidence of the impact a charity is having on the communities they serve.

"It’s also important they are told how their donations contribute to the charity and make an even bigger difference. With donations falling, charities need to be actively measuring their impact and talking about it if they want to attract donations of both time and money."

Beth Breeze, director of the Centre for Philanthropy, Humanitarianism and Social Justice at the University of Kent, said the findings were similar to those of other recent studies of wealthy donors such as the annual Million Pound Donors Report, which she co-writes.

"Giving is not objective and rational – the decision-making process is a very subjective, personal process," she said. "It is related to personal life experiences."

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