Members of Associations Waiting To Be Asked for Donations


August 2010 Inview

Members of Associations Waiting To Be Asked for Donations

Members of associations across the country give generously to community causes and organizations, but fewer than 15 percent ever make a contribution beyond dues and fees to the professional associations to which they belong. A new study recently published by ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership, The Decision to Give: What Motivates Individuals to Support Professional Associations, explores giving by association members both to community causes and to associations, while also highlighting some opportunities to increase donations among association members.

"Fundraising is an integral part of association management. Many of our services and programs like research and education would not be possible without the generous help of members and industry partners who support the mission of the organizations to which they belong," said ASAE & The Center President and CEO John H. Graham IV, CAE. "Considering that only 15 percent of association members give money to their associations, we need to do a much better job of asking our members and industry partners for their support, especially now as many associations are struggling to continue offering the excellent services for which they're known. The Decision to Give is a great source of knowledge and helpful insight on how we should approach our members for their financial support."

According to the study, the top reasons for giving include helping others, supporting an important cause, addressing social problems and increasing knowledge through research and education. Key conclusions from the study include:

  • Association members are waiting to be asked the right way. Four out of five members who have never given to their association say they have never been asked. Many of these non-donors are satisfied members who would be likely to donate funds to an organization if asked;
  • Solicitation strategy matters. Association members are no different from other kinds of donors in preferring to be solicited by someone they know and trust, for causes they believe have value for their profession;
  • All members are prospects. The study supports the conclusion that all members, regardless of age or career level, have the potential to become donors.

    The study results show that ASAE & The Center members are more likely to make charitable gifts when compared to the general public, with 94 percent having donated to some organization in the past 12 months compared to 70 percent of the general public. But few contribute to their associations; just 21% have ever given and only 7% have given any amount over dues or other purchases in the last year.

    This third installment in the "Decision to" series is based on a total of 5,000 survey responses from ASAE & The Center members and five other associations: American Academy of Neurology & American Academy of Neurology Foundation; American College of Healthcare Executives; American Society of Civil Engineers Foundation; APICS The Association for Operations Management; and IEEE.

    The Decision to Give is written by Monica Dignam, vice president of industry and market research at ASAE & The Center, and Beth Gazley, PhD, assistant professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University.


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