Charities Anticipate Lower Revenue, Individuals Plan to Give More

Charities Anticipate Lower Revenue, Individuals Plan to Give More

A majority of charities in the U.S. anticipate that their revenues will come in below expectations in 2020, but increased giving by individuals could make up some of the shortfall, a report from the BBB Wise Giving Alliance's finds.

Based on a survey of a hundred and eighteen BBB-accredited charities and more than a thousand adults in the United States, the report, Special Report: COVID-19 and the Charitable Sector (9 pages, PDF), found that 80 percent of charities anticipate revenue in 2020 will be lower than expected, while 89.4 percent are concerned about their ability to remain financially stable through year-end. The expectation among respondents of lower revenue is due to a number of factors, including the reduced capacity of donors to give (93.5 percent), the virus-related inability to host fundraising events (69.6 percent), and donors redirecting their support to individuals in need (54.4 percent). Almost one in five respondents (18.3 percent) also anticipate that their expenses will increase as a result of the crisis.

On the donor side, more than half (52.5 percent) of the individuals surveyed said they expect to give about the same to charity in 2020 as they did in 2019, while 30.8 percent said they would probably increase their giving, with younger generations (47.7 percent of millennials and 60.8 percent of Gen Z respondents) expressing an intention to increase their giving. In addition, 23.9 percent of individual respondents indicated that they plan to give to small businesses (directly or via crowdfunding), while 24.5 percent indicated they will look for ways to help unemployed individuals directly.

The report also found that charities were finding silver linings in the crisis, with 76.9 percent saying they were learning how to work online more efficiently, 56.7 percent finding new or expanded opportunities to raise funds online, and 55.8 percent identifying more efficient ways to pursue their mission.

"The COVID-19 outbreak and its effects are placing tremendous pressures on charities, all while needs continue to grow, but the outbreak is also a reminder of our collective interdependence, and we are encouraged to see that as the COVID-19 outbreak gains momentum, almost one-third of donors say they want to give more," said president and CEO H. Art Taylor. "BBB's will continue to monitor donor attitudes across time, and we encourage donors to find collective strength in supporting charities and their causes during this trying year."