Charitable Giving Was Up 7% in the First Half of 2020, New Analysis Says

Charitable giving in 2020, which was down in the first quarter of the year as compared to the first quarter of 2019, rebounded significantly in the second quarter of 2020 with a five-year high in the number of donors and contributions. As a result, the first half of 2020 increased by 7% when compared against the first half of 2019.

The findings come from donations to 2,496 nonprofit organizations studied through the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, managed by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

A major driver of growth in donations were donors who gave less than $250. “The significant increase in gifts under $250 shows many donors have been moved to give even amid the pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty,” said Elizabeth Boris, chair of the Growth in Giving Steering Committee. At the same time, the number of midlevel donors, who made gifts of $250 to $999, and major donors, who made gifts of $1,000 or more, increased year-over-year by 8% and 6%, respectively.

“Fundraisers should be cautious about getting too excited about the uptick in giving in the second quarter,” said Lori Hunter Overmyer, chair of the AFP Research Council. Giving almost always decreases in the first quarter, and the continued need for nonprofits services, along with the sluggish economy, “could potentially depress giving over the long-term,” she said.

The data also tracks donor retention, which increased by almost 2% overall. Despite a sharp decline in the number of new 2019 donors retained in 2020, the number of repeat donors retained or recaptured from previous years increased sharply in the second quarter.

Giving to religious groups was included in the database used, but not singled out for specific analysis.

The full report can be found at this link.


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.

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