Press Release: New Research Reveals American Generosity

October 26th, 2020

New Research Reveals American Generosity:
Newport ONE’s 2020 Giving Survey


Duxbury, MA:  Americans are generous, but who wants to give of their time and who wants to give money? What are the similarities of those that give one or both? What are the differences? And how can nonprofit organizations engage them?

The How Do You Help Others? 2020 Giving Survey sponsored by Newport ONE gauges American sentiment toward helping others. The research identifies attitudes associated with charitable causes, personal responsibility, giving behavior, and preferred communication channels. On the precipice of the year-end giving season, this research equips nonprofits with actionable steps to activate key donor and non-donor constituents.

“We know people are generous in times of great need, and it has been true during COVID-19. This research looks at donor and non-donor behavior during non-emergency times to reveal Americans’ generous spirit,” said Craig DePole, President of Newport ONE. “This study provides a roadmap for how to identify and connect with people across the giving spectrum.”

The survey asked more than 2,000 people in a nationally representative sample about their attitudes toward personal responsibility and helping others; beliefs in charitable organizations and their operations; and preferred information sources (printed media, television, online media, etc.).

From the data, the research team found six “personas” emerge, representing shared actions and values. The six personas defined in the full report are summarized in two major classifications: donors and non-donors.

Donor personas:

  • Gale Giver: Makes charitable gifts often and also volunteers. Sees and remembers news about charities. About 27 percent of the population.
  • Vic Volunteer: Highly likely to be volunteering for a charity. Responds to information from friends and family and enjoys events. About 16 percent of the population.
  • Reese Reluctant: Wants to verify what they hear about a charity, via a rating service or through personal experience as a volunteer. About 29 percent of the population.

Non-donor personas:

  • Pen Promoter: Wants to engage with cause(s). Likely to be under age 40 with an income of less than $50,000. Wants to volunteer. Active online. About 7 percent of the population.
  • Izzy Infrequent: Wants to help others less fortunate but feels short of funds. Prefers to visit a charity before choosing to support. About 12 percent of the population.
  • Shelby Seldom: Typically distrusts institutions, including charities. Not linked to clubs, congregations, or political causes. About 10 percent of the population.

 “The personas identify unique donor types based on giving money or time combined with individuals’ values or attitudes,” said DePole. “Across all six personas, clear communication about how their gift to a charity would make a difference was desired. We are sharing this information to help charities craft their list segments and appeal messages. We also think the feedback on donor confidence, preference, and expectation to give on PayPal is critical for nonprofits to hear right now.”

In addition to identifying core donor and non-donor personas, the survey also asked people in the nationally representative sample to indicate their charitable intentions by allocating a hypothetical $100 among 16 charitable causes. Further, the full report outlines how each persona prefers engagement, seeks information about their causes, and ranks need priorities, as well as how each persona hopes nonprofits will communicate with them to elicit their donation.

To request the full report, visit

The survey ran from February through March 2020. Fielding was coordinated and supervised by Grey Matter Research (Henderson, NV). Analysis was conducted by Grey Matter Research and by Chamberlin/Dunn (Indianapolis, IN). The study was managed and supported by Melissa S. Brown & Associates (Vancouver, WA) in conjunction with and funding from Newport ONE, Inc. (Duxbury, MA). A total of 2,003 responses were collected in a nationally representative sample.


For Immediate Release
Contact: Victoria Mannoia   
909.919.6031   |

Category: News