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See GivingDNA in action alongside your peers in fundraising. Tour the Platform on 4/22/21 @ 12pm CDT.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) just released a report on COVID-19 and the Charitable Sector.  The report explores what charities currently anticipate will be the consequences of the crisis as they strive to fulfill their missions as well as how the donating public feels about their giving prospects and preferences during 2020.  118 charities from the BBB Wise Giving Alliance responded, and BBB commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 adults across the US from March 27 – March 30.   Based on self-reported data, most of the adults surveyed would be considered general donors with annual giving less than $1,000.

As most charities are concerned about the sector as a whole and their own financial stability, the report found that the empathy and generosity of donors may rise to the challenge.  You can view a great one-page infographic here.  Below are the key takeaways and some ideas for application to your nonprofit.

The outlook from charities is rather bleak.

  • 80.5% of charities anticipate that their 2020 revenue will be lower than expected.
    • 19.6% say the organization may lose less than 10% of budgeted revenue.
    • 25% estimate revenue loss of 11-20%
    • 19.6% estimate revenue loss of 21-30%
    • 17.4% estimate revenue loss of more than 31%
    • 18.5% say they don’t know
  • 93.5% of charities anticipate donors will be less able to give.
  • 54.4% of charities say their donors will likely redirect support to individuals in need.

The outlook from donors is rather positive.

  • Close to one-third of participants (30.8%) say they plan to give more to charities in 2020 (as compared to their average annual giving in the past 3 years).
    • Younger generations, in particular, intend to give more, with 47.7% of Millennials and 60.8% of Gen Z respondents anticipating a rise in giving.
  • Of donors who expect to give less this year, most cited having lost income due to the COVID-19 outbreak (45.6%) or needing to be financially conservative due to the associated uncertainty (51.5%).
  • Of donors who report charitable giving in 2019, 14.7% said they do not intend to give in 2020.
  • When comparing self-reported donations in 2019 against intended donations in 2020, there are a few notable shifts in the portion of donors giving to particular charity types:
    • a drop from 45.1% to 40.1% for religious organizations
    • a rise from 10.5% to 14.6% for nonprofit hospitals
    • a rise from 11.8% to 14.6% for environmental organizations
  • 23.9% of respondents say they plan to give money to small business (directly or via crowdfunding).
    • While most respondents plan to support such businesses in more traditional ways, like buying products when possible (64.2%) or buying gift cards (16.9%), gifting money to small businesses may alter the charity scene.

So what does this mean for you?

  • Most donors are not going to stop giving.  This is not the time to stop fundraising.
  • Donors will likely redirect *some* of their dollars to causes more closely linked to COVID-19.
    • Think about how your client can highlight programs benefitting people impacted by COVID-19 – particularly unemployed individuals.
    • Think about how your client can localize their message and audience segmentation.  When possible AND where it makes sense, focus on grassroots efforts that are geo-targeted to key metropolitan areas as opposed to broad, national efforts.