Charitable giving in the first quarter of 2020 declined 6 percent on a year-over-year basis, a report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project finds.
Conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, the analysis of sample data from nearly twenty-five hundred nonprofits in AFP’s Growth in Giving Database found that after a positive January and February, giving dropped 11 percent in March compared to the same period in 2019. Based on estimates in the most recent Giving USA report, which put total giving in 2019 at $449.64 billion, nonprofits would see a year-over-year decline in revenue of more than $25 billion if the 6 percent decline persisted through the rest of the year.
According to FEP’s 2020 First Quarter Report, mid-level gifts between $250 and $999 and large gifts of at least $1,000 declined 2.2 percent and 7.4 percent in the first quarter, even as donations of under $250 increased 5.8 percent. The overall number of donors fell 5.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, while the donor retention rate slipped 3.1 percent, to 16.4 percent.
“The first two months of 2020 started out strong,” said Growth in Giving Steering Committee chair Elizabeth Boris. “But in March alone, we saw an 11 percent decline in donations, which was almost certainly a reflection of the impact of COVID-19.”
“While much of the world went into panic mode, and many larger donors pulled back because of the decline in the stock market, the everyday person who gives smaller amounts stepped in to fill the void,” said Ben Miller, secretary of the FEP Steering Committee and chief analytics officer at DonorTrends. “It is incredible that these smaller donations are up that much, and it reminds us of the collective power that donors can have together.”