On December 17, 2020, BBS & Associates published a report titled “Donor Confidence: The continued impact of COVID-19 on donor giving and what to expect for 2021.” This national study of donors was commissioned by BBS & Associates and conducted by research partner Campbell Rinker.
This research is beneficial for non-profits as they consider how the COVID-19 pandemic affected donor giving in 2020 and where ministry donors might be headed in the months to come.
Here are some of the key findings of this report:
1. Donor confidence in the United States remains similar to donor confidence reported by this study in July 2020.
Although giving has dropped overall this year, 81% of donors say that they have continued to give during the pandemic. The majority of donors say that they will keep giving, although more carefully than before the pandemic. However, the December report showed a small increase of donors who are hesitant to continue giving in 2021. While Christians “expressed a stronger than average intent to continue giving the same as before the pandemic,” only 14% of donors said that they expected to give more in 2020 than in 2019.
2. 52% of donors said that they expect their giving to return to pre-pandemic level but expect it to take longer to happen.
This is significantly more optimistic than research reported in July when the majority of donors said that they were unsure if their giving would ever return to previous levels, and only 28% of donors said that they expected giving to return to normal.
3. In December, 29% of donors felt that the economy will decline in 2021, 28% felt that it will improve, and 28% felt that it will stay the same.
These responses are divided into almost identical thirds, representing the uncertainty that people are experiencing across the United States as they head into 2021. However, the majority of donors believe the economy will either stay the same or improve.
4. Heading into 2021, half of all donors said that they plan to give the same amount in 2021 as in 2020.
17% of donors said that they plan to give at least 50% more than they did 2020. Among Christians, donors were much more likely to express an intent to give the same or more in 2021. Donors cited freedom from COVID-19 concerns, lower taxes, confidence in their good health, and confidence in federal leadership as factors that would increase their likelihood of giving more in 2021.
BBS & Associates also reported specific finding within faith-based communities. The research found that Christians are very commitment to giving and continuing to do so going into 2021. According to the report, Christians “see giving as an essential activity.”
Furthermore, Christian donors reported overall satisfaction with non-profits, expressing that charitable organizations in the U.S. are doing “a good or excellent job.” These donors are more likely to give above the average donor to places of worship and faith-based charities and less likely than average to give to international relief, education, and child sponsorship charities.
Click here for access to the full Donor Confidence Report.