Only One in Five Donors Plan to Stop Giving Until Economy Recovers

Only One in Five Donors Plan to Stop Giving Until Economy Recovers

With the COVID-19 pandemic creating uncertainty for both the economy and the nonprofit sector, 20 percent of U.S. donors said they plan to stop giving to charity until the economy has recovered, a report from Dunham+Company finds.

Based on a survey of six hundred and thirty donors conducted between April 17 and 21 by Campbell Rinker, the report, Donor Confidence Strong in Face of COVID-19 (6 pages, PDF), found that 28 percent of respondents said they plan to keep giving regardless of the impacts of the public health crisis, while 53 percent said they would continue to give but give "more carefully." Respondents self-identifying as conservatives were more likely than liberals (33 percent vs. 21 percent) to say they would continue to give throughout the course of pandemic, as were those who attend church weekly compared with those who never attend (40 percent vs. 16 percent), and boomer and older respondents compared with millennial and younger donors (33 percent vs. 26 percent).

In terms of their overall giving in 2020, 25 percent of respondents said they would give less than they did in 2019, while 52 percent planned to give the same and 17 percent said they would give more. Respondents planning to give more include large majorities of regular churchgoers (75 percent), self-identified conservatives (74 percent), and boomers (78 percent). 

"In real terms, this means that the pandemic has spooked about 10 percent of donors into giving somewhat less and encouraged about 5 percent of donors to give more," said Campbell Rinker CEO Dirk Rinker. 

Among those who say they will give more in 2020, 33 percent cited COVID-19 as the main reason. According to the report, respondents plan to give slightly more to places of worship as well as to health and medical nonprofits in the United States, and slightly less to educational institutions, faith-based charities (excluding places of worship), and arts and cultural organizations.

"After one month of shutdown, 10 percent of donors overall expect to give less because of either the pandemic or the economy in general, which is a direct result of the pandemic," said Dunham+Company CEO Rick Dunham. "It's instructive, however, that this percentage is significantly lower for boomers and older donors, at just 6 percent, which is a key giving demographic."

"Donor Confidence Strong in Face of COVID-19." Dunham+Company Report 05/04/2020. "Donor Confidence Strong in the Face of COVID-19." Campbell Rinker Blog Post 05/04/2020.