The Little Sisters of the Poor

A research report prepared by
DePaul PRAD 585 research team
Purpose
What we wanted to learn from our research:
• Reasons people donate money and time to non-profit
organizations
• Messages the community respond positively to when
solicited for donations to the elderly poor
• Insights for raising awareness and increased funding
A mixed method approach utilizing both qualitative and
quantitative research
Method
Client briefing
Interviews
(26 interviews)
Survey
(396 respondents)
April 9, 2013
April 23-30, 2013
May 10-20, 2013
Background Research
The issue of serving the elderly poor
– Serving the low income elderly is a growing concern in Chicago (Stewart, 2011)
Increased competion in the non-profit sector
– The non-profit sector is becoming increasingly competitive (e.g., Ein-Gar & Levontin, 2013)
– The question of how non-profit organizations should promote their cause and foster productive
relationships with donors and volunteers is key to sustaining their service
Branding is becoming more important, even for non-profit sectors
– Organizations are advised to be honest and transparent and actively communicate their work
through the media and public relations campaigns (e.g., de los Salmones et al., 2013)
– Some suggest that non-profit organizations should focus on people’s chief motivation for
contributing to a cause. Besides pure altruism, motivations for giving or volunteering can
include self-oriented reasons, such as interest in the activity, perceived benefits, getting
experience, and enhancing social status
– Roman Catholic Organizations (RCO) showed promise in the marketing arena (Higgins,
2007); there is a general expectation that the practice of marketing will improve the mission
effectiveness of the RCO
One-on-One Interview
Purpose
– In-depth conversations with the interviewees that can
uncover connections between their lives and non-profits
Method
– Each conducted one interview (26 interviews total)
– Semi-structure interview guide
– Primarily residents of Chicago
One-on-One Interview Results
Thoughts on the Little Sisters of the Poor
• No locals have heard of the Littler Sisters of the Poor
Importance of personal connection/experience
“Some of them I have a personal feel for because of my husband
going through cancer treatments. And if it’s for kids, I always
want to help towards that an even animals, I like to donate to
animals. But a lot of times if it’s for kids, if I ever see people
soliciting for kids, I always give money for that.”
“If I know somebody who is fundraising for I have a personal
connection or personal belief I’ll donate, but I don’t find random
places to donate to.”
One-on-One Interview Results
Religion matters
People are overwhelmed by number of non-profits
One-on-One Interview Results
Ways to encourage donating and volunteering
– Donating must be easy
– Volunteering must have something for them
– People are inherently selfish
I will donate… “if I saw the impact immediately.”
“I only like to give to branded organizations that are
endorsed by federations or things where I personally know
where the money is going.”
One-on-One Interview Results
Survey
Purpose
– Collect information at a larger scale
– Quantitative numbers to draw a more concrete picture of
how people think about the Little Sisters and non-profits
Method
– Convenience sampling
– Out of 396 respondents, 246 people live in Chicago
– Mean age was 31 years old (Mode = 24, Median = 26)
Survey Results
Have people heard of the Little Sisters of the Poor?
§ Low awareness level of the Little Sisters of the Poor among Chicago
residents
n = 246 (Chicago residents)
12.2%
87.8%
Yes
No
Survey Results
What’s the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they
hear “Little Sisters of the Poor”?
Children
(n = 46)
Nuns
(n = 45)
Poverty
(n = 41)
Y
o
u
n
g
g
ir
ls

(n
=
2
9
)
C
a
t
h
o
l
i
c
(
n
=
2
7
)
R
e
lig
io
n
(n
=
2
4
)
W
o
m
e
n
(n
=
1
7
)
C
h
a
rity
(n
=
1
4
)
Big
brothers/big
sisters
H
o
m
e
le
ss
N
o
n
-p
ro
fit
Survey Results
What do people do with direct mail solicitations?
§ Supports previous findings that direct marketing is ineffective at
gaining donations for non-profits, especially for organizations that are
unfamiliar
n %
Toss them all
167 42.3%
Read only the ones with organizations I recognize
113 28.6%
Read the ones with organizations I recognize and only
ones with eye-catching graphics if unfamiliar
89 22.5%
Read them all
20 5.1%
Other
6 1.5%
Survey Results
How do people want to
learn about unfamiliar
organizations?
§ Supports previous
findings that direct mail
is ineffective at gaining
awareness of non-profits
§ Family/friends (personal
connections) and social
media are effective at
gaining awareness of non-
profits
1 (Strongly disagree )-7 (strongly agree)
Mean S.D.
Family/friends 6.07 1.11
Social media 4.96 1.65
TV 4.22 1.75
Radio 3.77 1.74
Email 3.70 1.81
Newspaper 3.65 1.70
In-person on the street 3.49 1.83
Direct mail 3.16 1.66
Survey Results
Effective sources in getting people involved with new charities
§ Family/friends (personal connections) involved with organization
effective at increasing awareness
§ Supports the effectiveness of a communications approach with
resident spotlights at increasing awareness
1 (Strongly disagree )-7 (strongly agree)
Mean S.D.
Referral from a friend or family member that is involved 5.95 1.26
Hearing directly from someone who benefits from the charity 5.46 1.29
Hearing directly from someone who works for the charity 5.07 1.35
Hearing about the charity through your religious institution 3.81 1.84
Marketing materials with in-depth information on the charity 4.03 1.63
Gender and donating behavior
§ Females are more likely to donate than males
Female Male Total
Yes n = 142 58% n = 68 45% n = 210 53%
No n = 102 42% n = 83 55% n = 185 47%
n = 244 n = 151 n = 395
Survey Results
Gender and donation
amount per year
§ For smaller donations,
females seem to be
best target audience
§ For donations between
the $101-$150, males
best target audience
§ No gender difference
for donation amounts
above $151
Female Male Total
$1 - $50 23 16% 6 9% 29
$51 - $100 35 25% 11 16% 46
$101 - $150 14 10% 16 24% 30
$151 - $200 11 8% 3 4% 14
$201 - $250 8 6% 7 10% 15
$251 - $300 5 4% 2 3% 7
$301 or more 46 33% 23 34% 69
142 68 210
Survey Results
Factors that affect
donation
§ Generally, as age
increases, so does
donation amount (r = .58,
p < .01)
§ As income increase, so
does the likelihood to
donate
§ As income increase, so
does donation amount (r
= .50, p < .01)
Income
Currently
donate (n)
% Total
Less than $15,000 8 29% 28
$15,000 - $30,000 16 42% 38
$30,00 - $45,000 29 37% 78
$45,001- $60,000 35 57% 61
$60,001 - $75,000 15 47% 32
$75,001 - $90,000 26 59% 44
$90,001 - $105,000 19 61% 31
$105,000 or higher 62 75% 83
210 185 395
Survey Results
Why do people donate?
§ Having an emotional/personal connection to the organization and
knowing that their money will have an impact are important
Mean S.D.
I donate because I know it will help someone 6.27 .87
Having an emotional connection to the organization I
am donating to is important
6.19 1.13
Donating to an organization is fulfilling 5.83 1.26
I donate because it feels good 5.36 1.59
Donating is a habit 3.75 2.00
I donate because the organization is geographically
close to me
3.38 2.00
Survey Results
What prevents people from donating?
§ Number one reason is no extra funds
§ Flexible donation process should be emphasized
n %
No extra funds 146 79%
Unaware of donating opportunities 11 6%
No donating opportunities appeal to me 11 6%
No interest 5 3%
Other 12 6%
For those who currently do not donate, the reasons were:
Survey Results
Donating to local vs. global organization
§ Respondents would rather donate locally than to a national or a global
organization.
1 (Strongly disagree )-7 (strongly agree)
Mean S.D.
An organization that benefits the local community is
important
5.78 1.23
A nationally known organization is important 5.21 1.24
A global organization is important 5.07 1.32
To me, donating to…
Survey Results
Important criteria for an organization
§ Transparency and a clear mission is important to those considering
donating to a non-profit
Mean S.D.
Transparency within a charitable organization is
important to me
6.18 1.03
Mission statement of a charitable organization is
important to me
5.76 1.25
Summary
Little Sisters of the Poor has an awareness problem
87.% of Chicago residents surveyed unaware of the organization
People want to know where their contributions are going and that it their
money is making an impact
The survey results showed that a donation will help someone, being the most
effective influence on contributions and charity transparency, as well as
having clear mission being highly important in donation consideration
Personal connections towards causes fuels motivation to contribute
Hearing from someone who directly benefits (resident spotlight) from charity is
effective
Summary
Some suggestions for target audience
Females are more likely to donate than males; generally, as age increases, so
does donation amount; as income increase, so does likely hood to donate and
donation amount
Direct mail is an ineffective medium for communication
Supported by our secondary research as well as our interviews and our survey
Social media are effective at gaining awareness of non-profits
Secondary and primary research both supported social media as an effective
outlet for gaining awareness and relationship building, which is important to
the overall non-profit brand development and management
ü The cause itself (serving the low income elderly) is considered
important by our survey respondents.
ü The Little Sisters of the Poor should see a significant increase
in awareness and donations by simply rethinking their
communications strategy.
ü Targeting outreach programs toward the audience likely
to donate by utilizing media that are likely to reach them
and distributing messages that will resonate will ultimately
leading to increased donations to Little Sister of the Poor.
Conclusion
Recommendations