Charitable giving increased 7.5 percent in first half of 2020

Charitable giving increased 7.5 percent in first half of 2020

Charitable giving rebounded in the second quarter of 2020, boosting total giving in the first six months of the year by nearly 7.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, a report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project finds.

Conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute and based on an analysis of sample data from nearly twenty-five hundred nonprofits in AFP's Growth in Giving Database, the 2020 Second Quarter Report found that giving surged 12 percentage points in the second quarter after a 6 percent year-over-year decline in the first quarter. The analysis also found that the total number of donors increased 7.2 percent compared with the same period last year and that the donor retention rate rose 1.8 percent, with increases in new donors (12.6 percent), repeat retained donors (3.6 percent), and recaptured donors (15.7 percent) offsetting an 8.6 percent drop in the number of new 2019 donors retained in 2020.

According to the report, donations of less than $250 jumped 19.2 percent in the first half of the year, while mid-level gifts of between $250 and $999 increased 8.1 percent and major gifts of at least $1,000 increased $6.4 percent. In addition, total donations made through June equaled 47.3 percent of total giving for all of 2019; by comparison, total donations made through June 2019 accounted for 44 percent of that year's total.

"We almost always see decreased giving in the first quarter of the year, and fundraisers should be cautious about getting too excited about the uptick in giving in the second quarter," said Lori Hunter Overmyer, a member of the Growth in Giving steering committee and chair of the AFP Research Council. "We are likely to see a continued increase in need for the important services the social sector provides to communities, and we're watching the impact of a very slow economy — which could potentially depress giving over the long-term. One of the most important things charities can do now is to build strong relationships with their supporters and encourage existing donors to continue to give when they can."

"2020 Second Quarter Report." Fundraising Effectiveness Project report 10/06/2020. "Charities see uptick in giving in second quarter 2020." Association of Fundraising Professionals press release 10/06/2020.