How donors say they will donate in 2021
More than half of donors plan to give as much this year as they do in 2020
A new survey echoes other recent reports that found donors expect to continue contributing at high levels over the coming year. Fifty-three percent of respondents to the latest Burk Donor Survey said their donations in 2021 will keep pace with 2020. More than a quarter said they expected to give even more this year, and of these, 38% were motivated by the persistent public health emergency, 27% by calls for racial justice and almost a quarter by electoral issues and voters’ rights.
My colleague Emily Haynes wrote about the report by Penelope Burk, president of the consultancy firm Cygnus Applied Research. His cabinet interviewed 20,098 donors from February 22 to March 31 about how the events of the past year – including the Covid-19 pandemic, protests against racial justice and the presidential election – have affected their decisions in terms of donations.
More than half of those polled – 56% – said they gave more to charity in 2020 than in 2019. By contrast, only 37% of those polled in a previous survey said they gave more. in 2019 than in 2018 was clear: almost three-quarters increased their donations due to the pandemic.
While donor plans for 2021 are positive, Burk warns fundraisers not to be complacent.
“Donors cannot maintain an emergency mentality for too long”, she said to Emily. In 2017, for example, supporters increased their donations in response to deadly hurricanes and wildfires, but they reverted to their previous donation behavior the following year.
To avoid a drop in giving in years to come, fundraisers must inspire donors with a compelling new reason to give – and that strategy must begin with running the association, says Burk. Charities need to “find their new case, which is also compelling and very specific,” she says.
Nonprofits are also expected to highlight their successes over the past year, telling donors: “We have proven to you that you can trust us because we have done a great job in Covid. Now look what we’re going to do with this new initiative, ”she said.
Learn more about what donors are saying about their donations.
Plus, be sure to read Emily’s interview with Burk as she reflects on her more than two decades of studying donors and the fundraising field.