Donor Segmentation: The People Who Donate To Non-Companion Animals
This post is part of Faunalytics’ ongoing series on animal-cause donors and their charitable giving behavior. So far, we have largely focused our attention on donations across all types of animal causes. In this analysis, we divided animal-cause donors into two subgroups: donors to non-companion animal causes and companion-animal-exclusive donors.
We use this terminology because many people in the former group supported companion animal causes and non-companion causes. The distinguishing feature of the two groups is whether or not they had donated to at least one non-companion charity. These included charities for farmed animals, wild animals, animals used in science, marine animals, donkeys and horses, and charities supporting a broad range of animals.
This analysis is important because animal causes receive less than 3% of all charitable contributions (Giving USA, 2018), and the vast majority of animal-causes donors support companion animal charities (read more about it in our report). Knowing more about non-companion donors will help us provide recommendations for increasing donations to non-companion animal causes.
R code for this analysis is available here, along with the other data, reports, and materials based on this dataset. Additional details about the methodology are available at the bottom of this report.
Who Donates to Non-Companion Animals?
Donors to non-companion animals differ in several ways from companion-animal-exclusive donors, but there are also many ways in which the two subgroups are similar.
In our previous report, we compared the demographics of animal-cause donors to the demographics of the U.S. population as a whole. Here, I compared the demographics of our two donor subgroups. The two groups of donors are quite similar in their demographics, but men, especially those between 18 and 24, made up a larger share of donors to non-companion animals than companion-animal-exclusive donors. Donors to non-companion animals were almost equally split by gender, whereas women dominated the pool of companion-animal-exclusive donors.
The two donor subgroups did not differ substantially on other demographics, including race/ethnicity, income, or region.
In the U.S., between 49% and 68% of people live with a companion animal (Washington Post, 2019). Our study found that it is much more common among people who support animal causes—86% of animal-cause donors have an animal in their household.
However, this new analysis revealed that people who donate exclusively to companion animals are no more likely to live with a companion animal (85% do, +/- 3%) than people who donate to non-companion animals (88% do, +/- 3%).
Of non-companion animal donors, roughly 8% (+/- 3%) said they follow a vegan or vegetarian (veg*n) diet, versus 4% (+/- 2%) of companion-animal-exclusive donors. However, as you can see from the overlapping confidence intervals, the difference between the groups was not significant.
Volunteering Or Working With Animals
Our survey respondents were also asked whether they work or volunteer with animals. Here there was a significant difference. People who donate to non-companion animal causes were more likely to work or volunteer with animals than companion-animal-exclusive donors: 31% (+/- 5%) compared to only 20% (+/- 3%), respectively.
Supporting Animals Through Gifts In Kind Or Activism
There are many ways to support animal causes in addition to monetary donations. The most common for both donor subgroups was donating gifts in kind, such as food or companion animal supplies: Roughly 44% (+/- 4%) of companion-animal-exclusive donors and 38% (+/- 5%) of donors to non-companion animals had donated “goods or items” to an animal charity in the past year – not a significant difference.
When it comes to supporting animals through activism, few people in either group had participated in marches, protests, or demonstrations. However, significantly more donors to non-companion animals (34%, +/- 5%) had signed a petition or sent an email or letter than companion-animal-exclusive donors (19%, +/- 3%), suggesting that they are somewhat more involved in activism.
Most donors gave to one or two animal charities and four or five charities total. On average, donors to non-companion animals gave more money to animal charities than did companion-animal-exclusive donors. The median donation for donors to non-companion animals was $100 compared to a median of $60 for companion-animal-exclusive donors.
Both groups gave about 30% of their total donations to animal charities.
Most Important Animal Charity
The survey respondents were also asked which animal charity was most important to them. If we break down charities by the type of animal they primarily support, even non-companion animal donors were far more likely to name a companion animal charity as their most important. as shown below. In other words, companion animal charities are important to both subgroups of animal donors.
Survey respondents were asked about which donation methods they most prefer and which donation methods they have actually used. The most preferred option among both donor subgroups was donating online through a charity’s website. 45% (+/- 5%) of donors to non-companion animals preferred it, which was not significantly more than the 39% (+/- 4%) of companion-animal-exclusive donors who preferred it.
For the most part, the two donor groups have very similar preferences. The only significant difference was in their relative preference for donating by mail. 35% (+/- 4%) of companion-animal-exclusive donors preferred donating by mail, versus only 26% (+/- 4%) of donors to non-companion animals.
Overall, these analyses revealed several unique characteristics of people who choose to donate to non-companion animals (versus people who donate exclusive to companion animals). Relative to companion-animal-exclusive donors, donors to non-companion animals:
- Are more likely to work or volunteer with animals,
- Give more money to animals (but the same proportion of their total donations),
- Are more likely to have signed a petition or sent an email or letter to support animals, suggesting that they are somewhat more involved in activism,
- Are less likely to say that a companion animal charity is the most important to them (but 57% still do), and
- Are less likely to prefer donating by mail (but 26% of them still do).
Many of these findings present a picture of donors to non-companion animals as dedicated to the cause, providing more support than companion-animal-exclusive donors in a variety of ways. However, they are not necessarily more likely to be vegetarian or vegan (though a larger sample might find a significant difference), and neither group is any more likely to live with companion animals.
Finally, donors to non-companion animals are just as likely to be male as female, unlike companion-animal-exclusive donors, who are more often female. This difference is particularly striking in the 18-24 demographic. It may indicate that men are more motivated to support animals when they can do so on a large scale rather than supporting a small number of individuals. Although this explanation is speculative, the demographic findings call to mind a known gender disparity in the Effective Altruism (EA) community, which emphasizes support to causes with the highest impact in number of lives affected. 67% of respondents to the 2018 EA community survey were male and 50% were between the ages of 20 and 29.
Overall, there were many more similarities than differences between these two donor groups in this survey. The groups overlap substantially, with many people who donate to non-companion animals also supporting companion animal charities (often even preferring them). Although these analyses provide a glimpse of different donor segments, a more targeted study on donors motivated by effective animal advocacy versus other donors would be a useful addition to the pool of knowledge.
For ease of reading, we have not reported p-values throughout this report, though we report the margin of error for each estimate (e.g., +/- 3%). This corresponds to the 99% confidence interval, indicating that the estimate will fall within the specified range 99 times out of 100.
We made decisions about which differences to describe as significant or meaningful according to the following rules:
- For comparing the proportions of donors in simple variables with two levels (e.g., companion animal guardian or not, veg*n or non-veg*n diet), we conducted chi-squared tests and report significance at the .01 level.
- For comparing the proportions of donors in a list of related variables with two levels each (e.g., having used or not used a variety of donation methods), we simply looked for non-overlap in the 99% confidence intervals for each variable, rather than conducting chi-squared tests.
- For comparing medians (e.g., donation amounts) between donor groups, we used the Kruskall-Wallis rank test and report significance at the .01 level.
We chose to use rules with a .01 alpha level and 99% confidence intervals rather than the standard .05 and 95% because of the number of tests performed for this report. This is the simplest way to decrease the odds of drawing spurious conclusions from these findings, but we encourage the reader to be mindful of the confidence intervals in each case and interpret results cautiously.