Friday, December 19, 2014

Donations To The Humanities Are Up

Only one in $20 donated in 2013 went to the arts, culture, and the humanities, but the 16.66 billion dollars represented a boost of 7.8% from the prior year.  The Wall Street Journal reports that religious organizations and causes get the most donations, accounting for nearly one in three dollars donated.  Over 100 billion dollars flowed to religion last year.  Education received half of that amount.

So which sectors get the most donations?
1.      Religious
2.      Educational
3.      Human Services
4.      Foundations
5.      Health
6.      Public Society Benefit
7.      Arts, Culture, Humanities
8.      International Affairs
9.      Environment and Animals

One may wonder which is more important – saving lives or merely improving them?  Should more money be given for life-death matters – or should it be invested in improving the lives of others?  Should donations merely benefit a few people in a significant way or many, but on a lesser level?

For the arts, humanities, and culture, I can see many ways donations help museums and institutions to thrive or survive.  There’s no end to what can be done to service the needs or desires of the population.  Just look at books.

We could donate money to help libraries, museum exhibits, and organizations to provide more books, resources, and support staff.  We could buy books for the underprivileged, hire tutors to address literacy, and fund writers’ grants.

16 billion and change seems like nothing, considering what our government spends money on.  One billionaire, like Michael Bloomberg, could single-handedly fund what was given last year for the arta, books, and cultural groups – and still have billions left over.  Maybe that’s what we should do – get a new billionaire each year to invest in the arts and then find another to fund the following year and so forth.  He could pay for all of the books consumers bought from Barnes & Noble this year  - and still have billions of dollars available to fulfill his whims.

Have you contributed to the arts and humanities?  What are you waiting for?  Below are the most common reasons high-net-worth households gave for opening their wallets in 2013:

74.9% believe their gift can make a difference
73% received personal satisfaction from giving
66% like to support the same cause/organization annually
63% want to give back to their community
62% gave to groups they volunteer at or serve on the board for
50% give because of political or philosophical beliefs
45% seek to remedy an issue that affected them or those close to them
44% gave as a spontaneous reaction to those in need
40% gave because of religious beliefs
40% donated to honor another person
34% gave to earn a tax break
33% gave out of a desire to set an example for future generations
29% gave when asked

Maybe we can take a page from this playbook and use it when it comes to book sales.  Let’s rewrite the donation reasons and turn them into bookselling strategies:

1.      Convince others your book can make a difference
2.      Show them they’ll receive satisfaction from reading
3.      Get readers used to buying the same type of book over and over
4.      Show them how your book gives back to the community
5.      Have them buy because of a political or philosophical belief
6.      Show how the book remedies some aspect of their life – or the lives of those close to them
7.      Have them buy your book on impulse

It’s worth a shot, try it.

I’ll leave you with this:

The Wall Street Journal said 70% of those polled said they’d take an action (donate) after seeing a friend’s social media post about making a donation.  SO the key is to get your friends to buy your book!  But you already knew that.


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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