Letter from the Director
Even though 2020 looked grim, we are seeing rays of hope with the prospect of the public getting COVID-19 vaccines next year. As we look ahead to 2021, 2020 will remain in our memories forever. While some pandemic experiences such as wearing masks and social distancing may disappear, others such as online education and virtual events may be here to stay. Regardless of what awaits us in 2021, we are grateful for lessons learned as we wind down the last few days of 2020.
During the pandemic, organizations witnessed many challenges and were also able to see—in certain sectors such as healthcare and social justice matters—an increase in giving. Many nonprofits launched virtual events to engage and cultivate donors and online education was largely adopted by higher ed. According to a recent article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 36 percent of donors surveyed in August 2020 said that they will “give more generously this month than they did last December.” Institutions with strong ties to major donors were likely to benefit from potential increases in their giving. It’s evident through a recent survey by Marts & Lundy and the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners that donors are showing increased interest in gift planning. Additionally, nonprofits may have benefitted from the 2020 CARES Act, which permits taxpayers to temporarily increase their deduction limit for cash donations made directly to qualified public charities. The CARES Act also temporarily allows individuals who itemize to deduct qualified charitable contributions up to 100 percent of their Adjusted Gross Income. Here is a fact sheet for fundraisers on the CARES Act that lists several ways to encourage charitable giving by donors.
Lastly, here are some key takeaways from a recent survey by Fidelity Charitable which allows us to better understand donor behaviors, especially during the end of 2020. The survey was conducted with 491 Fidelity Charitable donors in August 2020 to find out how Fidelity Charitable donors are approaching charitable giving during COVID-19.
1. Forty six percent of donors say they’ve already given more to charity in 2020 than normal because of the pandemic—and four in ten say the pandemic has influenced their giving.
2. Nearly four in ten donors say they’ve given to different nonprofits due to the pandemic—but the vast majority also plan to support their regular charities this year.
3. Donors show widespread apprehension about the nonprofit sector’s ability to weather the pandemic—particularly small, community-based organizations and human services charities.
4. Looking to the future, only two in ten donors believe the pandemic will significantly influence their giving in 2021 and beyond—indicating that the majority of donors plan to stay the course with their usual giving behaviors.
As we begin the new year, I hope we can use the lessons learned from surveys and reports to bolster future fundraising strategies. These reports can help us all stay watchful and informed for the future. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and prosperous 2021.
As always, please feel free to reach out us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team
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