Relationship between personality types and donor behavior

Modern sociologists put a lot of importance on personality types when determining people’s reactions to certain situations or events. Can we also have a system to gauge donor behavior based on people’s personality types?

A research conducted in 2014 by Zach Zimmel, a Canada-based marketing consultant for nonprofits. He created an anonymous survey for people who had donated to charity in the past two years. There were 110 respondents, half of which were introverts and the other half extroverts.

The answers to the questions were then analysed by dividing the data based on personality type of the respondents. He had a few specific categories under which he wanted to assess donor behavior. These included preferences related to social media engagement, giving channels, frequency of giving, appreciation methods preferred, etc.


When it came to preferred giving channels, extroverts were comfortable with street canvassers. Introverts said they were more likely to donate discreetly online. Both types preferred to engage with the charities they supported via social media. However, the platform they chose differed with extroverts engaging with charities more on Twitter.

Around 25% extroverts said they preferred a charity to thank them for a donation over the phone. In contrast, introvert respondents were uncomfortable with this appreciation method. Less than 6% of them indicated it was acceptable.

Explaining his findings, Zimmel wrote in a blog post “My preliminary research indicates several discrepancies between introvert and extrovert donor preferences and tendencies. If we acknowledge our aim to build a truly donor-centric philanthropic sector, then we become obligated to learn more about how personality shapes our donors’ behaviors. In effect, we can begin to treat donors the way they deserve to.”

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