On December 22, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project released their report on charitable giving in the third quarter of 2020. The report showed an increase in donations – up 7.6 percent – and donors – up 6 percent – during the first nine months of 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019.
This increase is welcome news to the Charitable Giving Coalition, but one data point in particular grabbed our attention. The report shows that leading the charge in the uptick in giving were donors giving less than $250, up 17.1 percent from last year and outpacing larger gifts. While we know that giving historically increases during times of increased need and economic recession, the increased donations tend to come from those giving larger gifts of $1,000 or more.
So, while we know many factors likely contributed to this uptick in smaller gifts, one contributing factor could be the universal charitable deduction enacted last spring. As you may recall, the CARES Act in March 2020 created a temporary universal charitable deduction (UCD), capped at $300, for cash gifts. Last month, the UCD was extended through 2021 and expanded to $300 for individual filers and $600 for joint filers.
The Charitable Giving Coalition is encouraged by this most recent giving data and looks forward to working with lawmakers in the 117th Congress to further expand and extend the UCD to encourage even more charitable giving in a time when it’s needed most.