Stacey’s informal philanthropy pop quiz

A philanthropy colleague of mine has started a little informal survey which she plans to do on a weekly basis to gather opinions from our philanthropy community.

In her words: Last week she quizzed her colleagues about donations and the importance of tax deductions.

Of those that responded:

* 75.5% made a charitable donation in the last twelve months (excluding a response to QLD/VIC floods and/or cyclone Yasi)
* 52% made a charitable donation of funds in response to QLD/VIC floods and/or cyclone Yasi
* 71.4% said that for any donation made obtaining a tax deduction was not important
* 64% said the availability of a tax deduction would not influence which charity they gave funds to

Due to the feedback and success of that quiz Stacey will be implementing a weekly pop quiz on topics relevant to the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. The link to the quiz will be sent out on a Tuesday morning via twitter from @thomstac and will stay open for 24 hours. Results will be tweeted the following day.

Today’s quiz is on the 5 Ps of wise giving.

It contains only two questions and should take no more than 1 minute to complete. Please complete this quiz on the link here and forward it by email or other means to any friends or colleagues who would also be interested in the topic and able to complete it by 10 am Wednesday 16 February.

The quizzes are generated by Stacey Thomas who is the Research Manager at the Myer Family Office, but these surveys are not for MFO research purposes but are about generating interesting discussion and debate while providing insight into the Australian sector. Stacey is preparing these as part of her own general interest in the sector. If you wish to contact her, please use twitter – @thomstac.

Thanks for having a look at this and participating and let me know what you think of this kind of review/survey.

Results from @thomstac:
#popquiz results are in!
There were 36 respondents.
Sectors: 33.3% #philanthropy, 22.2% NFP, 16.7% private, 13.9% govt., 11.1% other, 2.8% self-employed
what’s most important when deciding which charity to donate or grant to? Passion – being passionate about the cause 63.9%
what’s least important to respondents when deciding? 50% say planning in advance the method of giving including amount

About ozphilanthropy

#Philanthropy. #arts Posts by Sharon Nathani, PhD candidate at the Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne focussing on philanthropic funders of the arts. Sharon's study is supported through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.
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12 Responses to Stacey’s informal philanthropy pop quiz

  1. Michael says:

    The survey responses that you quote will give a biased picture of charitable activity if the data are sourced mainly from the philanthropic community. Stacey’s survey for this week does ask each respondent to indicate what sector they are employed in, so that her report can make clear the non-representative nature of her sample.

    • Thank you for pointing this out – This is a relevant comment because the survey is mainly being distributed through our philanthropic networks. Hopefully though, the pool of participants will expand. As Stacey works in a research capacity I would hope that she is able to filter the responses in some way to account for the audience base.

  2. johnofoz says:

    I noted the results from Stacey’s first quiz with interest and some concern. I suspect, without any basis except from my own perspective, that the importance of tax deductability increases as the size of donation grows. I assume that the survey covered individual donors only and not foundations and the like. When someone gives $10 to Red Cross and $2 to the Salvation Army the importance is limited and probably would not affect giving. When the donation is, say, $1000 or more tax deductability becomes much more important, if only because it permits an increase in the amount available from discretionary funds for philanthropic giving.

    I make this point mainly to draw attention to the importance of survey design. It is not clear from the results of the first survey whether a question was asked about whether donation size would influence answers. It may be that Stacey could use some sound counsel on survey design. I would suggest she have a look at and consider a chat with Kate Tribe.

  3. Stacey says:

    Thanks Michael and Johnofoz for the comments. And of course thanks for highlighting this in the blog Sharon.

    With the initial tax deduction survey it wasn’t sent to anyone in the philanthropic or NFP sectors as I was trying to get an overview of the thought’s of ‘everyday’ people that didn’t have a vested interest in the answer. In fact, initially the results weren’t even going to be made public. It was only after significant feedback and interest that I was convinced to tweet what the respondents felt. And interestingly, although perhaps not surprisingly, there were a lot of comments about the amount of the gift also impacting the perceived importance of a tax deduction.

    The purposes of these pop quizzes are not to provide statistically significant data, nor are they done under the banner of ‘research’. They are, I hope, interesting conversation starters around the relationship between philanthropy, the community organisations they seek to assist, and the people that interact with both.

    Thanks for your interest and comments.

  4. johnofoz says:

    Thanks Stacey,
    I note the intent of your pop quiz. I think if you are hoping to start useful conversations with short surveys, and if they are to provide some insight, statistically rigorous or not, the issue of asking the right question or questions in the right way becomes paramount. As a case in point, I was somewhat confused by the second question in your most recent quiz. If I am not alone, then those conversing about the results may well be talking at cross purposes.
    Note that I am not a market researcher nor expert in survey design. I have just been the target of many surveys over the years, short and long. Too many are put together without proper regard to how the questions will be understood by respondents. Poor questions beget poor data, and hence doubtful conclusions. Michael was, I think, making a similar point.

  5. Kate Tribe says:

    Thanks John for bringing my attention to this blog. It is a good read Sharon.

    What defines the philanthropic community? It always adds more when you understand the segment that have received the survey as Stacey has clarified. I had the understanding that being philanthropic (and therefore part of a philanthropic community) was about the way and level you donate rather than an employment status. Is this not correct?

    With the survey that is currently live, ‘Please indicate which sector you are employed in’ includes student. Being a student isn’t an employment status. I regularly write posts on survey tips and have done one on this topic: A student could be working and in a reasonably well paid role if they are self-employed in a successful business or doing an MBA while in a corporate role. If they are in the middle of writing an essay and feel distracted by that then they could put student, or other which communicates something else. Or someone could be working full time in a corporate role, a student, gain significant income from investments, and on a board of a non-profit.

    Making a question like that a single response works for a majority but could miss subtle information that could be interesting in philanthropic area.

    Definitely achieved the aim of being a good conversation starter! I’ve deleted comments as I realised how much I’d written.

    It would have been great to know the size of the donations participants were talking about for the survey in this post. Or on another level it would have been interesting to know what proportion of their gross income was donated and then their views on tax deduction.

    Looking forward to seeing the results of this one!

    • Hi Kate, thanks for your insights on survey design and segmentation – this helps us understand how easy it is to misinterpret or oversimplify results if we don’t quite have the parameters for questions set up adequately (leading to generalisations).


  6. Stacey says:

    Wow – well I guess we can say the conversation has started! Thanks everyone for the comments.

    Kate I take the point about students status on board and will amend for future quizzes – thanks.

    From my point of view I titled these questions as a ‘pop quiz’ as I didn’t want to imply that they were something they were not. There is a massive body of research that could, and should, be done to capture reliable data around the level and extent of philanthropic activity and any correlations between this and thoughts on giving or the sector as a whole. This will never be done through a pop quiz and for the twitter audience, if there are more than a couple of questions people wont take the time to participate. I have found that 145 characters or less also extends to amount of time.

    Let’s hope the results of the quiz soon to be tweeted inspire people to think about what is important to them when it comes to ‘wise giving’.

    All the best, Stacey.

    • thanks to everyone for being so engaged with this and especially JohnofOz for your followup comments and inviting Kate to contribute also. I agree with Stacey that “we can say the conversation has started”. Glad to have been able to assist in facilitating.

  7. Pingback: “Splash in the shallows” – family foundations testing the waters | ozphilanthropy

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