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Survey: Brand awareness of charities splits at $100k

Written on Feb 20, 2019

Brand awareness for nonprofits varies among households depending on whether those households make more or less than $100,000, according to a new survey. Only six charities are among the top 10 matching across both demographics and four of the top 10 being in health care.

The survey collected data from 1,053 respondents, ranking brand awareness of the 100 largest U.S. charities by total revenue. Data were analyzed comparing different consumer income segments.

The top-ranked nonprofit for brand awareness in the study overall was St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at 91%, followed by The Salvation Army, 88%; Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 87%; and, The Y and American Heart Association, both at 85%.

The top charities with the greatest awareness in households with less than $100,000 annual income were:

  • St. Jude, 88%
  • The Salvation Army, 86%
  • The Y, 83%
  • American Heart Association, 82%
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 80%
  • American Cancer Society, 79%
  • Make-A-Wish, 79%
  • Goodwill Industries International, 78%
  • American Red Cross, 76%
  • Habitat for Humanity International, 74%

Among households with annual income of more than $100,000, the top nonprofit brands were:

  • St. Jude, 98%
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 98%
  • American Heart Association, 95%
  • March of Dimes, 93%
  • The Salvation Army, 91%
  • The Y, 91%
  • American Cancer Society, 91%
  • Wounded Warrior Project, 91%
  • Boy Scouts of America, 90%
  • Doctors Without Borders, 90%

The most significant differential where higher brand awareness was found among households with annual incomes of less $100,000 was for Chicago-based Feeding America, at 14% (39% to 25%), followed by Step Up For Students in Jacksonville, Fla., at 9% (12% to 4%), and Cross International in Pompano Beach, Fla., at 8% (9% to 1%).

The more extreme difference in charity brand awareness among higher-income households earning $100,000 or more was American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), with a 37% differential (74% to 37%), followed by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), at 36% (80% to 44%), and Susan G. Komen, 30% (86% to 57%).

Charity brands more familiar among higher-income households dominate Zion & Zion’s top 100, taking the top 40 spots overall. Organizations with higher brand awareness among households with less than $100,000 in annual income occupy 20 positions among the top 100, only two managed to crack the top 50: Volunteers of America (VoA) at No. 41 and Feeding America at No. 43. Ten of them were among the bottom 25 charities in the rankings.

Among the top 100, six charities were ranked as “equal” when it came to awareness among high versus lower-income households.