A segmentation based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is helpful in showing who gives, who doesn’t, and how to get more people giving more substantially and more often. This paper describes the segmentation, gives the data about giving behaviour and recommendations of increasing giving: Aha – Driving Giving, April 2011.
The segmentation defines three groups of people according to the fundamental psychological need or ‘value’ which is most pressing in them. Giving behaviour is consistent within each segment, but varies markedly between the segments.
Who gives, who doesn’t and why not
Donors are most likely to be ‘inner directed’ people: society’s scouts who are interested in ethics, ‘issues’, analysis and complexity.
Least likely to give are ‘sustenance driven’ people: socially conservative, people concerned about belonging, tradition, drawn to authority.
Furthermore, it seems that all the inner directed people involved in charities may be detering the other two groups – outer directed people and sustenance driven people – from getting involved.
The segments choose very different causes. Sustenance driven are prefer institutions such as hospitals and ex-service personnel; outer directed people choose ‘people’ causes, eg, children, deaf /blind, training organisations; and inner directed people are drawn to the environment, heritage, culture and international development.
To increase giving
Giving has been promoted and dominated by one segment: to grow it, we need fresh approaches:
1. Reach out to each segment. Fish where the fish are: they go to different places, read different magazines, join different groups.
2. Make it desirable. Make giving more talkable, give people something to say on their Facebook status, make it more fun, more socialable – giving is often a totally silent activity – show people what their donation can achieve, make giving socially normal, avoid it feeling like a loss or a luxury.
3. Make it easy. Talking about the complexity of measuring results, for example, is great for inner directed people but probably scares others away.
Do inner directed people dominate the ‘philanthropy industry’?
We’re testing a hypothesis that they do. Find out your segment here, and then post your answer (indicated if you’d like to remain anonymous).