American voters still have the blues, what about donors?

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Before running surveys for non-profits, I was a political polling nerd. While perusing the latest results I decided it would be interesting to run an experiment. All the major polling organizations have their own version of tracking the mood of American voters. I wondered what would happen if we asked our nation’s donors the same questions. I chose a mood indicator used by several organizations and conducted an online poll1  of 600 donors from across the United States.

  • Mood indicator: “All in all, do you think things in the nation are generally headed in the right direction, or do you feel that things are off on the wrong track?”
  • To be a donor, the respondent had to have given a gift to a non-profit organization not including a Church or other house of worship in the past 12 months.

I am using the latest report from Rasmussen2 to compare the voter results to our donor study. In short, the mood of American donors is similarly divided on political lines. Conservatives feel much less optimistic about the future than liberals. This was expected since we can assume there is an enormous degree of overlap between donors and voters. However, while liberal voters are divided in their mood, liberal donors are a majority optimistic. See below.


Without tracking this over time our interpretive power is limited. For example, we do not know whether these are highs or lows for any group and therefore cannot judge these results in the context of current events. There is however one conclusion that can safely be drawn from this data: Liberals who make non-profit donations are not entirely the same group as liberals that vote. For conservatives, this is undetermined in our study.

If you find this type of experiment interesting, drop a line to and let me know so I can run future blogs on similar topics. Or if you are interested in having your own questions answered through a similar study, contact me and find out how we can do that for you.


1. We use Survey Sampling International’s Online Panel for most of our survey work, including this study.


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