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July 3, 2020
Donors Plan to Continue, even Increase, Giving to Nonprofits
May 17, 2020 — Massachusetts nonprofits struggling with the financial impacts of the coronavirus crisis may take heart from findings from two recently completed national surveys which found that Americans plan to continue their charitable giving plans, with many planning to increase those donations in the next year.

  • The majority of Americans, 66%, say they do not plan to change the amount they give to charity in the coming year, according to a recently completed national Gallup survey. However, more say they plan to increase (25%) rather than decrease (7%) their charitable contributions.

  • 53% of donors said they plan to continue giving, but more carefully than before in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a national study of donors commissioned by Dunham+Company, a global fundraising and marketing consulting firm to the nonprofit sector.
Four in 10 upper-income Americans plan to increase their charitable contributions in the next year, according to the Gallup survey completed in mid-April, as do 23% of middle-income Americans. Lower-income Americans are about as likely to say they will decrease their charitable donations (13%) as to say they will increase them (17%).

However, Gallup noted, "The duration and severity of the economic downturn will be a key factor in whether Americans are able to fulfill those intentions."

Reductions in volunteering are most pronounced among middle-income Americans, Gallup found, declining from 71% in 2017 to 58% today.

"There has been no meaningful change in the percentage of upper-income Americans reporting they volunteered time in the past 12 months (76% in 2017 and 75% now). Lower-income Americans, who are much less likely to volunteer, show only a slight decline, from 49% in 2017 to 44%," according to Gallup.

According to the Dunham survey of 630 adult donors, also completed in mid-April, 52% of donors said they expected to give the same as before, and 13%expect to give less in the coming year due to their financial situation.

However, 46% said their giving will return to normal once the economy returns.

Donors also expressed confidence in nonprofits, with 60% saying charities in America are doing either good or excellent work, compared to 48% who said the same thing two years ago.

“Even though donors know the economy is in a world of hurt, they are much more confident that it will rebound more quickly now compared to how donors felt back in 2018 when the economy was picking up steam,” said Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham+Company.
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