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The (2020) Data Is Clear: Donors Respond During Times of Crisis

And they plan to keep giving

Recently I had the opportunity to present a Bloomerang Academy class on 2020 Giving Trends and what they mean for the rest of the year. Despite a global pandemic and tough economy, 2020 was buoyed by extreme generosity on the part of donors—which is a great sign for how we’ll wrap up 2021.

Throughout the early days of the pandemic, one of the most frequent questions I received was “should we fundraise right now?” Many fundraisers (or their bosses) were concerned about appearing insensitive to the current climate, or had convinced themselves that no one would be willing or able to donate during such a trying time.

While we saw some anecdotal evidence to the contrary (several Bloomerang users saw some amazing results), as well as some mid-pandemic research, we now have a full year’s worth of data to suggest that nothing was further from the truth.

According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, there was a:

  • 7.3% increase in donors from 2019 to 2020
  • 10.6% increase in donations from 2019 to 2020
  • 18.5% increase in new donors (those making their first gift) from 2019 to 2020
  • 13.7% increase in recaptured donors—those who made a gift in 2018, missed 2019, and made a gift in 2020

According to Giving USA, there was a:

  • 2.2% increase in giving by individuals from 2019 to 2020
  • 17% increase in giving by foundations from 2019 to 2020
  • 10.3% increase in giving by bequest from 2019 to 2020

According to Cygnus Research:

  • 56% of donors gave more in 2020 than in 2019 (up from 27% from 2018 to 2019).
    • Only 11% of donors gave less than they did in the previous year.
    • 32% of donors gave the same amount as they did in the previous year.
  • 53% of donors plan on giving the same amount in 2021 as they did in 2020.
    • Donors under the age of 35 are most likely to give more.

Overall, I’m very confident that 2021 will be the biggest year-end giving season we’ve ever seen!

So don’t give in to the idea that donors are fatigued or that other causes matter than yours—whether it’s this crisis or the next (and there will be a next). The capacity and generosity is out there; you just have to ask.

Check out Bloomerang's donor database with a demo today!

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