5 Ways COVID-19 is shifting philanthropy

man-wearing-a-face-mask-having-a-video-call-4031817 (1)We think it’s safe to say that COVID-19 has caused changes in nearly every aspect of our lives. How we interact with people, how we shop, how we work – our minds have had to shift in order to accommodate these uncertain and unprecedented times, and philanthropy is shifting right along with it.

Donor behavior is changing amid the pandemic, from their mindsets to the way they give. Fidelity Charitable highlighted some of the ways that donors are shifting their behaviors during these changing times.

  • Those who are able to give will maintain their giving levels or increase them. Despite the economic hardship that COVID-19 has brought on, 25 percent of donors plan to increase their donations and 54 percent plan to maintain their giving levels. Oftentimes, a crisis brings out the philanthropic spirit in individuals and sparks donors to step up and support the causes they care about. During this time when nonprofits are especially at risk, donors are focusing on philanthropy and charitable giving. This is especially true for younger donors, Fidelity Charitable found. In fact, 46 percent of Millennials said that they will give more in response to the pandemic, compared to 14 percent of Baby Boomers and 25 percent of Gen X.
  • Though donations may increase, volunteerism is expected to decrease dramatically. As we are encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing,volunteering becomes much more complicated. While many organizations are finding safe and responsible ways to continue their volunteer efforts, many volunteers are being more cautious and opting to donate money rather than time. Fidelity Charitable found that 47 percent of volunteers believe the amount of time they spend volunteering will decrease or stop due to the pandemic. This trend is especially prevalent among older donors, as 61 percent of Silent Generation donors and 57 percent of Baby Boomers say they will decrease or stop volunteering, compared to 19 percent of Gen X and 31 percent of Millennials.
  • Giving is staying domestic. More people are concerned about domestic, health-related nonprofits with individuals on the front lines of the pandemic, and these are the nonprofits that are more likely to receive support. Fidelity Charitable asked where donors are most likely to send support in response to COVID-19, with 58 percent saying they would address the domestic response and 11 percent saying they would address the international or global response. At this time, it appears giving is staying a little closer to home for many.
  • Donors are staying loyal to their post-pandemic nonprofits. According to Fidelity Charitable, 43 percent of respondents said they will continue to donate to nonprofits they supported prior to COVID-19, while a quarter said they would give to different organizations in response to the pandemic.
  • More giving days are being developed. We are seeing an influx of local, national and global giving days in response to the pandemic, and we’re loving it! As we wrap up #GiveAtHomeMN here in Minnesota, a week dedicated to supporting local nonprofits, schools and community organizations, and start to see the results of #GivingTuesdayNow, a second #GivingTuesday developed to support charitable organizations around the world, we’re encouraged by the millions of people coming together worldwide to help those who need it most. As this crisis continues, we expect to see more large initiatives to help get nonprofits, community organizations, schools and small businesses back on their feet.

The world of philanthropy is changing, but we are encouraged by the generosity of those who continue to support the causes that mean most to them. We hope that you will continue to nurture your relationships with donors as we all work together to get through this uncertain time.