More than half of fundraisers expect declines in giving in 2020-21

More than half of fundraisers expect declines in giving in 2020-21

More than half of nonprofit fundraisers expect to see fundraising revenue decline this year and next as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey conducted in May by the Association of Fundraising Professionals finds.

Based on responses from more than eight hundred and fifty AFP members, the Coronavirus Response Survey found that 35 percent of respondents reported a drop in donations between January and March compared with the same period in 2019, while 31 percent saw an increase and 33 percent saw no change. When asked about the outlook for the second quarter, 57 percent of respondents said they expected giving to decline, while 25 percent thought it would increase and 18 percent expected no change.

The survey also found that 56 percent of respondents expected their organization to raise less in 2020 than it did in 2019, while only 21 percent expected to raise more and 23 percent expected to raise about the same. Most respondents said they expected to see the impact of the pandemic on fundraising to continue into 2021, with nearly 72 percent predicting that giving next year would remain "lower than in a typical year," while 12 percent believed giving would increase and 16 percent believed it would hold steady. 

According to the survey, smaller nonprofits with budgets under $5 million were more likely than organizations with budgets of $5 million or more to expect a drop in income. In terms of issue area, about 30 percent of fundraisers for human service organizations expected income to increase in 2020, six percentage points higher than any other subsector.

"We expected to see a significant drop in giving as a result of COVID-19, and our data shows that it will be a difficult time for fundraising for 2020 and well into 2021," said AFP chief executive Mike Geiger. "However, it's clear that at this point, giving continues as organizations are adjusting and continuing to hear from donors. In addition, the impact hasn't been the same across all organizations — human service organizations are, by far, the most optimistic subsector, and larger charities seem to be doing a bit better as well."

"Half of charities expecting drop in donations in 2020 and beyond." Association of Fundraising Professionals press release 06/25/2020.