How does political leaning impact the charitable causes we support?

June 23, 2021

Political leaning naturally impacts the types of charitable causes we support, but also how we show up to support those organizations. In the weeks following the 2016 Presidential election, many Americans “voted with their wallets” to support organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), so much so that the organization’s website crashed. Elements of the “Trump Bump” seemed to have an echo “bounce” based on early 2020 donor research, which impacted both charitable giving and volunteering.  

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, we explore both the differences and some reassuring similarities between those that lean left, right, or stand with the moderates in the center.  

Lori Collins, SVP of our Giving Sciences group, speaks to all of this and more in our recent livestream: The Politics of Giving.  

While our POV is intended to be more insightful rather than prescriptive, understanding political leaning of your supporter base (through surveys or data appends) can be enlightening, but it can also be a distraction. Giving by age is still more predictive of many charitable behaviors. That said, there are some insights for ensuring fundraising programs are reaching current and future supporters, even across political differences:  

  • The importance of your website cannot be overstressed, as an organization’s website is the primary spot 64% of donors go to research prior to giving a first gift  
  • Monthly giving is a modality that all political leanings and ages have warmed to, and one that provides the benefit of higher long-term value over time
  • The social media sites with the highest use—Facebook and YouTube—are tops for reach across political leanings