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Disaster Relief Top Priority for Donors as Giving Tuesday and Holiday Fundraising Season Near, New Classy Study Finds

Hurricane Florence, midterm elections, and new giving technologies all factor into donor plans as Americans prepare to open their wallets this giving season

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In advance of Giving Tuesday, the midterm elections, and the traditional year-end spike in charitable contributions, Classy, a leading online and mobile fundraising platform for nonprofits, has released the results of a nationwide survey about America's plans to give. This survey data confirms that disaster relief is top of mind for donors, support for their favorite nonprofits still surpasses political causes (even in an election year), and nonprofits' adoption of new technology impacts a donor's intent to give, as well as their perceived credibility of an organization.

On Giving Tuesday 2018, for the second consecutive year, Classy's real-time giving hub will showcase up-to-the-minute fundraising activity for nonprofits using Classy, while inspiring supporters from around the world to discover and donate to deserving organizations whose causes are closest to their hearts.

Giving Tuesday, initiated in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and United Nations Foundation to rally support for nonprofits in the post-Thanksgiving season, occurs this year on November 27 and has quickly elevated in stature as one of the most important fundraising events of the year for nonprofits. Classy platform data shows that nonprofits acquire 3 to 5 times more donors on Giving Tuesday than on a typical day, and in 2017, more than $300 million was raised online alone from more than 2.5 million total donations across the entire online giving landscape. Classy, which serves more than 4,000 nonprofits of all sizes and causes, saw more than $10 million raised on its platform on Giving Tuesday 2017, a 60 percent increase over 2016.

Top findings from the Classy survey include:

  • Disaster relief is top of mind
    Following another year of high-profile natural disasters, the study finds that Americans clearly do not have hurricane fatigue when it comes to charitable giving. Donors feel that disaster relief is the number one cause needing the most support this Giving Tuesday (48 percent) followed by health issues (37 percent) and environmental causes and/or animal issues (36 percent). Nearly half of those surveyed have already contributed to Hurricane Florence-related relief efforts, and of those, more than a third said they are likely to donate more come Giving Tuesday. Disaster relief is even something that both Republicans and Democrats support as their top cause (42 percent vs. 47 percent respectively).
  • Nonprofit organizations win support over political causes—but altruism has its limits
    The survey found that while politics may be dominating the news cycle and water cooler talk leading up to the midterm elections, donors stand ready to support the causes they care most about this Giving Tuesday. Those polled were most likely to support their favorite nonprofits (45 percent) above political causes, including political parties, political action committees, or individual candidates (33 percent combined). Donors were split on whether their political beliefs dictate their giving plans (38 percent equally agree and disagree). However, higher-earning households are far more likely to say their political beliefs definitely dictate to whom or what organizations they donate their money. Aside from these giving habits, when it comes to receiving gifts, more respondents stated a gift of cash would have more meaning to them (34 percent) than a donation made in their name to a nonprofit that aligns with their values (22 percent).
  • A seamless digital giving experience equates to more trust in a nonprofit
    The donation experience plays a significant role in a donor's level of trust in an organization, as well as their likelihood to give, across all generations, and is especially prominent among young donors. More than half of consumers (53 percent) prefer to give electronically, whether on a computer or mobile device, regardless of generation, and more than half of millennial and Gen Z respondents (54 percent for each) said if they can't easily donate to a nonprofit online or via mobile, then they will have less trust in how that nonprofit uses their funds.
  • Reasons for giving are often personal
    As far as motivators to donate, personal or family connections to a cause, recommendations from social media influencers, and ease of donating are all top contributors. More than 70 percent of respondents strongly or somewhat agree that they would be most discouraged from donating to a nonprofit if the organization received negative media coverage.

"Giving Tuesday continues to be an enormous opportunity for nonprofit organizations to get in front of new donors, and we want to help our customers engage with these first-time donors in an effective way that ultimately results in additional recurring donations," said Scot Chisholm, CEO and Co-Founder of Classy. "This study confirms that donors are increasingly seeking easy online and mobile channels for giving, and—even more telling—consumers are linking technology to their overall trust in a nonprofit."

To help nonprofits prepare for Giving Tuesday, Classy has developed a specialized microsite and resource page providing a range of assets including templates, guides, and worksheets to empower organizations to create effective fundraising campaigns specific to the day. On Giving Tuesday, for the second consecutive year, the microsite will become a real-time giving hub showcasing up-to-the-minute fundraising activity for nonprofits using Classy, while inspiring supporters from around the world to discover and donate to deserving organizations whose causes are closest to their hearts.

Conducted in September 2018, the survey polled 1,002 individuals 18 years of age or older in the United States. The survey was fielded using the Qualtrics Insights Platform and the panel was sourced from Fulcrum by Lucid. 

More information about the survey findings will be posted in the coming weeks on the Classy blog: Nonprofits and donors alike can follow along with Classy on Giving Tuesday at

About Classy
Classy is a social enterprise that creates world-class online fundraising software for nonprofits, modernizing the giving experience to accelerate social impact around the world. Based in San Diego, CA, Classy is trusted by organizations of all sizes, from the fastest-growing nonprofits like Team Rubicon and The Trevor Project, to some of the world's largest social organizations, such as Acumen, Robin Hood Foundation, and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Classy also hosts the Collaborative conference and the Classy Awards to spotlight the innovative work nonprofits are implementing around the globe. Backed by prominent technology investors, including JMI Equity, Mithril, Salesforce Ventures, and Bullpen Capital, Classy has raised $53 million to-date in growth capital. For more information, visit or follow Classy on Twitter @Classy.

Monica Finch
[email protected] 


Donors feel that disaster relief is the number one cause needing the most support this Giving Tuesday (48 percent) followed by health issues (37 percent) and environmental causes and/or animal issues (36 percent), according to a survey conducted by Classy.

Classy Logo (PRNewsfoto/Classy)

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