Strong Giving Continues During the Pandemic

Charitable giving has continued to remain strong across 2021, according to several sources. The Blackbaud Institute Index, which tracks more than $44 billion from over 8,500 organizations in US-based charitable giving, found that in the 12 months ending in September 2021, faith-based organizations experienced a 9.8% increase in overall fundraising and a 17.5% increase in online fundraising compared to the previous 12 months ending September 2020.

This follows strong giving in 2020 where, according to The 2021 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy: Charitable Giving by Affluent Households, religious organizations received the highest share of affluent charitable dollars (32%). Specifically, almost half of affluent households (47%) gave to religious service or development, compared to less than a third of general population households (29%).

In a recent study, 84% of donors said they planned to give the same or more to charity in 2021 as they gave last year, according to research from fundraising technology company Classy.

Charitable giving to faith communities somewhat parallels developments in the overall U.S. economy, where a good economy is generally good news for charitable giving. “With the markets at all-time highs and the economy slowly opening up, the charitable holiday cheer season should be a good one,” said University of Chicago economist John List, quoted in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. That same article identified key indicators that can help nonprofits forecast their fiscal health; gross domestic product, consumer confidence, employment, the performance of the stock market as well as regional economic indicators all offer a window into how donors may behave. “The economy is continuing to grow, though not as fast as some people might prefer,” the article concluded.

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