84 Percent of Donors Plan to Give the Same or More to Charity in 2021, Survey Finds
Donors plan to continue giving this year, according to a new study from fundraising technology company Classy. The annual survey, which ran between August and September 2021, asked a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults about their giving intentions and actual donations. Eighty-four percent said they planned to give the same or more to charity in 2021 compared to what they gave last year. That commitment to donate is notable given how accurately respondents predicted the contributions they made last year. Thirty-nine percent said they planned to increase their donations last year, and 41 percent of respondents to this year’s survey said they actually did give more in 2020.
We’re sorry. Something went wrong.
We are unable to fully display the content of this page.
If you continue to experience issues, contact us at 202-466-1032 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Donors plan to continue giving this year, according to a new study from fundraising technology company Classy. The annual survey, which ran from August to September, asked a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults about their giving intentions and actual donations. Eighty-four percent said they planned to give the same or more to charity in 2021 as they gave last year. That commitment is notable given that in 2020, 39 percent said they planned to give more that year, and 41 percent of respondents to this year’s survey said they actually did.
“If this year people are like they were last year, they’ll actually do what they say,” said Soraya Alexander, chief operating officer of Classy. “They have a pretty good sense of what they believe in.”
As fundraisers begin their year-end appeals, Alexander said they should be focused on the basics. That means giving donors a choice of how to make a digital contribution, such as through their bank account, credit card, or a digital wallet like Apple Pay.
Digital payment apps also show promise because donors already use them to pay for goods and services. Respondents across all age demographics said PayPal and Venmo were their preferred means to make payments. Millennials in particular preferred these apps for their charitable giving. Seventy-two percent said they were likely to use them to make a donation.
“People will decide to give or not if they don’t have to go downstairs and find their credit card,” Alexander said.
It’s also essential that donation pages are easy to read on a smartphone, she added. An overwhelming 94 percent of respondents said they had made contributions on their smartphone or tablet and preferred doing so. Most of these mobile donors — 58 percent — gave through an organization’s website. Twenty-three percent said they gave through an app, which might include a social platform like Facebook, a nonprofit’s own app, or a digital payment app. Fourteen percent said they donated by text message.
One way for fundraisers to read the tea leaves this year-end is to follow trends in online commerce, Alexander said. She points to 2020 revenue growth at subscription businesses as a signal that more donors would be open to making monthly charitable gifts. “Donors and consumers are the same people,” she said.
Respondents who are baby boomers and older were the most likely to say they make recurring gifts, at 38 percent. Millennials followed at 29 percent, and Generation X and Generation Z were neck-and-neck at 27 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Younger donors expressed interested in stepping up their giving, however. More than one-third of millennial and Generation Z respondents said they were more likely to make a monthly gift instead of a one-time donation because of the heightened level of need in society today.
Thanking a donor for a one-time contribution and spelling out how much more of a difference they could make if they gave each month can help organizations attract more recurring gifts, Alexander said. These “nudges,” as she called them, help keep the option of recurring giving on donors’ minds.
Fundraisers shouldn’t worry that asking donors for a monthly gift will scare them away, Alexander said. If a donor doesn’t want to make a recurring donation, they’ll just stick with their one-time gift. “We don’t see them leaving altogether,” she said.
Heading into GivingTuesday on November 30, Alexander said fundraisers should focus on winning gifts from new donors. The one-day giving blitz began on social media, and younger donors are still the most familiar with it.
She encouraged fundraisers to use GivingTuesday as a time to connect with new donors on social media and ask them to spread the word about their charity to their friends. Millennials, Gen X, baby boomers, and older donors were most likely to say they learn about new causes through conversations with family and friends. Gen Z respondents were most likely to make that connection through social media.
All donors are learning about new causes from people they trust, Alexander said, not from charities reaching out to them directly.
Among the other findings:
- At 50 percent, baby boomers are the most likely to support only the programs they care about as opposed to general operating support, for example.
- Millennial and Generation Z donors expressed the strongest affinity for social justice charities, with 43 percent and 47 percent, respectively saying they would donate to that cause.
- Disaster relief was the most popular cause in 2021 for millennial, Generation X, baby-boomer, and older donors. Generation Z put education first.