Charitable giving could be higher this year than 'record-breaking' 2020, survey finds

·3 min read

Charitable giving will rise further after surging amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey found.

The survey, conducted by nonprofit consultancy firm Dickerson Bakker & Associates, found that nonprofit organizations should expect another hearty pull of fundraising this year, with more than 90% of people who donated last year expected to give the same amount of money or more to charity.

The survey examined more than 1,000 largely faith-focused adult donors in the United States who gave to at least one nonprofit organization last year. Derric Bakker, president of DickersonBakker, told the Washington Examiner during a phone interview that he believes the increase in charitable giving is being driven by two factors: financial security and a heightened sense of need.

“It’s interesting, we are not seeing it wane in 2021,” Bakker said. “Our expectation is that it’s actually going to be higher in 2021 than it even was in 2020, and 2020 was a record-breaking year in many ways for giving.”


Nonprofit groups typically see an outpouring of giving in the wake of a major crisis or disaster, for example, after hurricanes or earthquakes. The COVID-19 pandemic is similar in that people are suffering, but the biggest difference has been how long the health crisis has gone on. Even now, months after the word “coronavirus” first entered the national lexicon, there are still thousands of people dying from the virus across the globe daily.

DickersonBakker first conducted a study of charitable giving last year to help nonprofit organizations understand what to expect. Last year’s survey found that 85% of midlevel and major donors were intending to give the same or more than in the past, despite their own personal struggles.

While new deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. were markedly lower for most of 2021 (outside of the recent delta variant surge) donations have continued because of an “avalanche of need.” Groups that are seeing a spike in giving are ones that the COVID-19 pandemic intersects, such as addiction recovery organizations and groups working with homelessness, Bakker said.

The major difference between this year and the last is that in addition to a continued sense of need, more people are financially stable than they were at the height of the pandemic.

While still not close to its pre-pandemic low of 3.5%, the unemployment rate has consistently ticked down from nearly 15% in April 2020 to 5.2% now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Gross domestic product, the other key indicator that the Federal Reserve uses to gauge the health of the economy, has also seen explosive growth as the country emerges from the pandemic.

A sense of financial security coupled with the atmosphere of need is a potent combination for charitable giving, according to Bakker.

“You still have the real heightened sense of what the needs are, couple that with greater financial security than they felt last year, and I think we’re going to continue to see that kind of wave of giving probably through the end of this year,” Bakker said.

The nature of giving is also expected to see a shift this year as well. While many people turned to the internet and online donation resources in 2020, 2021 is anticipated to see a return to a more traditional donor environment, the survey found.


More than 70% of donors indicated that they would be willing to meet in person to attend small-scale fundraising and philanthropy events, and about 6 in 10 donors said they would be willing to attend large fundraising events. The survey was done in June and July, prior to the delta variant’s surge in new cases.

The survey was conducted among about 1,150 adult donors in the U.S. who donated to at least one nonprofit organization last year. The data has a confidence level of 95% and a 3% margin of error.

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Tags: News, Charitable Giving, Charity, Philanthropists, Polling, Coronavirus, Nonprofits

Original Author: Zachary Halaschak

Original Location: Charitable giving could be higher this year than 'record-breaking' 2020, survey finds

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