Charitable Giving in 2020: Results from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project

pexels-rodnae-productions-6646942The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) helps nonprofits increase giving by providing information, data and tools to track and evaluate their annual growth in giving, as well as trends within the industry.

Each year, the FEP puts out a report highlighting the state of the nonprofit industry. When examining Giving Year 2020, here’s what they found: (Spoiler: it’s not all bad!)

  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, giving in 2020 increased 10.6% over 2019
  • Overall donors grew by 7.3% in 2020
  • Smaller gifts (gifts of less than $250) grew by 15.3% compared to 2019
  • Larger gifts (gifts over $1,000) increased by 10.4%
  • Mid-level gifts ($250-$999) increased by 8%
  • Donor retention dropped 4.1% compared to 2019

Jon Biedermann, Chair of the FEP and President and CEO of The Biedermann Group highlights why charitable giving rose in the midst of the pandemic:

“One factor that may have helped the increase in smaller gifts was the universal charitable deduction,” he said. “It’s striking that on December 31, there was a 28% increase of $300 gifts, which is exactly the maximum amount a donor can take using the universal charitable deduction, plus small-level gifts of $250 or more increased by more than 15% throughout the year. Obviously, there’s a lot to unpack, and the impact of COVID-relief efforts can’t be understated, but we’ll continue to examine the relationship between small gifts and the universal charitable deduction.”

Last year’s need for charitable donations was another catalyst for the increase in giving. The 7.3% increase in the overall number of donors was driven by an 18.5% increase in new donors and a 13.7% increase in recaptured donors who gave prior to 2019. However, the main factor in the decrease in donor retention was a 9.2% drop in the new donor retention rate, or the percentage of donors who gave in 2019 but did not give to the same charity in 2020.

Last year saw encouraging increases and some discouraging decreases in the industry, but we are encouraged to see that donors are coming through even during difficult times.

You can learn more about the report or read the full report online.