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Targeting wealthy donors: the dichotomous relationship of housing wealth with current and bequest giving


Russell N. James III, Division of Personal Financial Planning, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA.



Identifying the charitable potential of current and prospective donors is a key component of successful fund-raising, particularly in the areas of major gifts and planned giving. Previous research has provided support for the positive impact of two core financial factors, total wealth, and homeownership. Using data from the USA and Australia, this paper examines how the interaction of these two variables can generate negative effects on charitable giving. In particular, as the share of total wealth held in homeownership rises, both the likelihood and level of charitable giving falls. This relationship is consistent across current giving, planned bequest giving, and actual bequest giving and in both cross-sectional and longitudinal models. These findings suggest that prospect research models incorporating asset type, as well as total wealth, may better predict likely donor potential. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.