“Where Needed Most.” Do donors know where their money goes?

Jun 16, 2022
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Hebah Tanveer

It’s the new trend for nonprofits to have a “catch-all” donation category. 


Let *Insert Nonprofit Name* Decide.

Where Needed Most.

Call it what you will, but this donation category essentially takes all decision-making power out of the donor’s hands and places it onto the nonprofit’s shoulders. Instead of the donor deciding, “hey, I think I’ll support the Thirst Relief Project today!”, the nonprofit has to use strategy to see where the money will be best spent.

But do donors know where a majority of their money goes?

A study by The Nonprofit Times found that on average, nonprofits use 4¢ for every $1 raised for their marketing budget. So, that charity you raised $1 million for during Ramadan?

Yeah, they’re likely spending $40,000 on marketing efforts.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing . . . right?

Think about it like this: if a nonprofit is spending money on Search Engine Optimization, Google Ads, and influencer campaigns, they have to allocate those funds away from programs and services. 

So, while those programs and services may still be thriving, there’s a lot more that is being withheld in the name of publicity. The hope is that this investment for publicity will, in turn, get the charity some more dedicated donors that will be able to fund said programs and services. 

Allocating money for a nonprofit’s marketing budget is, without a doubt, a tricky cycle of investments and trade-offs. With this in mind, it’s probably a good thing that nonprofits are handling things and taking the burden off of donors.

I mean, would you select “Marketing Budget” if it were a donation category?

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