Donor confidence up but uncertainty about 2021 remains, survey finds

Donor confidence up but uncertainty about 2021 remains, survey finds

A recent survey finds that while donor confidence has improved since April, the outlook for 2021 remains uncertain, the NonProfit Times reports.

According to a survey of six hundred and twenty-nine donors conducted by Campbell Rinker during the first week of December, the share of U.S. donors who said they would stop giving or give less to charity over the next twelve months fell to 18 percent, from 34 percent in April. Fifteen percent of respondents who planned to give less said they were unsure about how much they would give in 2021, up from 5 percent in April, with higher percentages among households with annual incomes under $25,000 (22 percent), self-described political moderates (18 percent), and women (17 percent). The survey also found that 31 percent of respondents reported making a charitable donation in the week prior to and including GivingTuesday on December 1 — including 40 percent of boomer and older respondents, 38 percent of political conservatives, and 25 percent of moderates — while half of all respondents said they hadn't wrapped up their giving for 2020. 

According to the survey, 67 percent of respondents planned to maintain or increase their giving in 2021, up from 61 percent in April. in addition to improved finances, the most common reasons respondents said they were likely to give more in 2021 were the end of COVID-19 concerns (31 percent), lower taxes (28 percent), confidence in their health (26 percent), and confidence in federal leadership and/or government action (23 percent). Financial distress led respondents' reasons for thinking they would give less, followed by higher taxes (28 percent, including 35 percent of political conservatives), fear of contracting COVID-19 (27 percent), uncertainty regarding federal leadership and/or government actions (26 percent), and health issues other than COVID-19 (26 percent). The report also notes that longer-term household giving trends suggest a continuing decline in giving, with respondents' average estimated giving falling from $2,250 in 2018 to $1,500 in 2019 and donors consistently reporting lower confidence levels in 2020 than in 2018.  

"These figures show that American donors are certainly taking things one step at a time. Declining donor confidence in 2020 has led to greater uncertainty about giving in 2021," said Dale Berkey, president of BBS & Associates, which sponsored the survey. "[Nonprofit managers must] respond by showing more impact, affirm each donor's giving, and make sure their requests are clear, compelling, and match demonstrated donor interests whenever possible."

(Photo credit: GettyImages)

"Poll shows shaky donor confidence for 2021." NonProfit Times 12/28/2020.