This week, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project released their fourth quarter fundraising report for 2020, which tracks changes in donors, donations and donor retention year over year. The report showed a 7.3 percent increase in donors and a 10.6 percent increase in donations in 2020 compared to 2019.
We were especially encouraged to see a 15.3 percent increase in gifts under $250. This tracks with the last two FEP reports, for Q2 and Q3, both of which followed the enactment of the $300 universal charitable deduction for non-itemizers (you can find CGC’s coverage on those reports here and here). It is not unprecedented to see higher giving rates during times of crisis, but those increases are typically led by donors giving $1,000 or more. However, this year it was those in the less than $250 camp that led the way, and we can only guess that it had something to do with the universal charitable deduction.
Moreover, we can learn even more from end-of-year giving trends, which are typically tied to the holiday season and the end of the tax year. According to Jon Biedermann, chair of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, there was a 28 percent increase in donations of $300 on December 31st. That is the exact amount of the nonitemizer deduction, and likely another signal that it has encouraged more giving.
The Charitable Giving Coalition welcomes this increase in charitable giving, and we look forward to working with Congress to enact an even more robust universal charitable deduction to help direct even more resources to the organizations in our communities that need it most.