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Financial Planning > Charitable Giving > Donor Advised Funds

Donors Plan to Give More in 2021: Fidelity Charitable

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What You Need to Know

  • Ninety-three percent of donors reported that they gave more to charity last year than in the previous year.
  • The pandemic has also called attention to social justice issues and will prompt donors to give more in 2021.
  • Many donors wish to do more volunteer work, and one-third of those donors will do such activities virtually.

The pandemic continues to influence donors’ charitable giving decisions in 2021, according to a recent study by Fidelity Charitable.

Ninety-three percent of donors reported that they gave more to charity last year than in the previous year. This year, 67% plan to give the same amount, and 26% to give even more. Only 7% said they would give notably less in 2021.

“A year and a half into the pandemic, donors are continuing to display inspiring generosity,” Kristen Robinson, Fidelity Charitable chief operating officer, said in a statement. 

“A third say the events of last year will have a long-term influence on their behaviors, including the amount they give to charity and the causes they support. We hope these trends continue, as so many nonprofits are still attempting to recover.”

The findings are based on a study Artemis Strategy Group conducted in July and August among 701 adults in the U.S. who donated at least $1,000 to charity in 2020.

New Causes

Asked what had influenced their giving over the past year, 22% of respondents said the pandemic, 10% social justice issues and 23% both. Forty-five percent said neither had affected their giving decisions.

The pandemic has inspired elevated giving levels among many donors, and it has also called attention to new issues and will prompt them to give more to each one in 2021 than they did the previous year, including these:

  • Treatment/cures for diseases: more aware, 42%; give more, 27%.
  • Local community needs: more aware, 34%; give more, 29%.
  • Hunger: more aware, 32%; give more, 32%.
  • Racial discrimination: more aware, 31%; give more, 21%.

Donors could also continue to embrace new channels and methods for giving in 2021. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they will purchase more products from socially responsible businesses this year. Twenty-eight percent plan to make more donations online, and the same number to give more money directly to individuals, family or friends.

Twenty percent said they will attend fundraisers or events. Other ways donors may contribute this year: point-of-sale giving and through a giving circle, an online giving platform or a social media platform.

The study found that in-person volunteerism plummeted from a pre-pandemic level of 57% to 23% last year. Now, many donors are looking to increase their involvement. 

Thirty-five percent of donors said they plan to spend more time volunteering in the future, and 52% will spend about the same amount of time as before the pandemic. Looking ahead, one-third of donors said they will do part or all of their volunteer activities virtually.