Donors looking to maintain 2020 giving, survey finds

Donors looking to maintain 2020 giving, survey finds

Most major donors to faith-based organizations expect to maintain or increase their giving in the second half of the year, a report from nonprofit consulting firm DickersonBakker finds.

Conducted in cooperation with some of the nation's largest faith-based nonprofit organizations and based on a survey of more than a thousand donors who gave at least $1,000 over the past two years across forty-four states, the report, Charitable Giving in the Wake of COVID-19 (9 pages, PDF), found that 85 percent of donors expect to maintain or increase their charitable giving between now and year-end. Respondents also indicated that any giving they do to address needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic is unlikely to affect their overall giving.

Indeed, fewer than 10 percent of respondents indicated that they plan to support a new cause, while more than seven out of ten who have contributed to COVID-19 relief efforts said those gifts were "over and above" their regular giving. The survey also found that only one in six donors expect to give less this year, while fewer than one in twenty anticipate a substantial reduction in their giving between now and the end of the year.

Overall, donors appear to be optimistic about the prospects of economic recovery, with 64 percent saying the economy will rebound to normal levels by the end of 2020 or the middle of 2021. Traditional fundraising efforts will remain a challenge for nonprofits, however, as more than 40 percent of major donors said they will not attend a big in-person gathering until there's a COVID vaccine, even as 80 percent expressed a willingness to meet one-on-one with fundraisers or attend a small event where social-distancing measures are in place.

"This study provides heartening news that should give nonprofit leaders the confidence they need to look beyond the shutdown and start making longer-term plans again," said DickersonBakker senior partner Paul Martin.