Charitable giving increased in third quarter, report finds

Charitable giving increased in third quarter, report finds

Charitable giving increased in the third quarter of 2020, boosting overall giving in the first nine months of the year by nearly 7.6 percent on a year-over-year basis, a report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project finds.

Conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute and based on an analysis of sample data from nearly twenty-five hundred nonprofits in AFP's Growth in Giving Database, the 2020 Third Quarter Report found that the total number of donations grew for the second consecutive quarter, albeit at a slower pace, following a 6 percent year-over-year decline in the first quarter. Year-to-date giving through September 30 equaled 69.9 percent of giving for all of 2019, compared with 64.9 percent for the same period last year.

The report also found that the rate of growth in the overall number of people making a charitable donation slowed in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date growth to 6 percent, down from 7.2 percent at the end of the second quarter. The overall increase in donors was led by new donors, up 11.7 percent through September, with increases in recaptured donors (13.6 percent) and repeat retained donors (1.5 percent) helping to offset a 10.3 percent decline in new repeat donors. After rising 1.8 percent through June, the year-to-date overall donor retention rate fell 0.4 percent in the third quarter, with the repeat donor retention rate and the recapture rate up just 0.4 percent and 1.8 percent and the new donor retention rate down 7.9 percent.

According to the report, the number of gifts of less than $250 made through September was up 17.1 percent on a year-over-year basis, down slightly from  19.2 percent through June, while the number of mid-level gifts of between $250 and $999 was up 6 percent, down from 8.1 percent in the second quarter, and the number of major gifts of at least $1,000 was up 6.9 percent, a slight increase from 6.4 percent in the second quarter.

"What we're seeing is that people remain very generous and continue to support their neighbors, communities, and charitable causes when they face crises and hard times," said Jon Biedermann, chair of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project and president and CEO of the Biedermann Group. "Some in the sector were worried that the rebound in giving in the second quarter would be short-lived as donors suffered prolonged challenges from the pandemic. While the donors giving less than $250 in the third quarter was not as far ahead as the second quarter, the public remains resolute in itsgiving. More importantly, we're seeing those giving $1,000 or more increase in the third quarter, which is critical as those donors make up a majority of the donations and were lagging behind in the first half of the year."

"2020 Third Quarter Report." Fundraising Effectiveness Project report 12/21/2020. "Charitable giving continues significant growth in third quarter despite pandemic." Association of Fundraising Professionals press release 12/21/2020.