Three in Four Donors Plan to Give the Same, More, Survey Finds

Three in Four Donors Plan to Give the Same, More, Survey Finds

Three in four donors plan to give the same or more to charity this year than they did in 2019, a study commissioned by Fidelity Charitable on giving and volunteering finds. 

Based on a survey conducted between March 18 and 30 of more than eighteen hundred Americans who donated at least $1,000 to charity in 2019, the report, COVID-19 and Philanthropy: How Donor Behaviors Are Shifting Amid Pandemic (7 pages, PDF), found that, with the emergence and spread of COVID-19 globally, 25 percent of respondents planned to increase their giving this year, while 54 percent planned to maintain it at current levels. Millennials (46 percent) were more likely than Gen-Xers (25 percent) and boomers (14 percent) to say they planned to give more.

Those who planned to give more said they were doing so because the need is great (63 percent), they want to help out (61 percent), their community is suffering (46 percent), they want to support nonprofits working to address the impacts of the coronavirus (42 percent), and/or the nonprofits they already support need additional funding (40 percent). According to the report, respondents were particularly concerned about the ability of human services nonprofits (83 percent), small or community-based nonprofits (82 percent), and health and medical research organizations (77 percent) to continue their work as the virus spreads. Of the 9 percent of respondents who said they expected to donate less in 2020, more than half said they were not sure what their income would be (58 percent) and/or were worried about a recession and the economy overall (58 percent). 

The survey also found that a relatively small percentage of respondents planned to volunteer more (17 percent) or the same (26 percent) in 2020 as in 2019, while 47 percent said they will volunteer less or stop volunteering altogether. Those who expected to volunteer less said the nonprofit(s) they volunteer for may be closed due to the public health emergency (66 percent), they don't feel it's safe (42 percent), and/or they are in a higher risk group for COVID-19 (33 percent). The Boston-based sponsor of donor-advised funds also announced that its fund holders have recommended grants totaling more than $100 million in response to the global COVID-19 crisis. In March alone, the overall number of grants awarded from Fidelity DAFs jumped 36 percent on a year-over-year basis, to a hundred and thirty-six thousand.

Other DAF sponsors also have seen significant increases in giving since the coronavirus began spreading globally, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports. Schwab Charitable, the second-largest commercial DAF sponsor, reached out to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy for a list of organizations responding to the pandemic and those organizations saw a nearly 450 percent increase in grant dollars from Schwab account holders. And the National Philanthropic Trust reports that the number of grants made in March rose 39 percent while the value of those grants increased 120 percent on a year-over-year basis.

"We're inspired to see this rapid response from our donors, which will help support immediate medical needs, protect vulnerable populations, and sustain nonprofits affected by COVID-19," said Fidelity Charitable president Pamela Norley. "We're now challenging our donors to hit the $200 million granting mark by Tuesday, May 5, which our collaborator Giving Tuesday has dubbed 'GivingTuesdayNow.'"