State of Charitable Giving and Donor Engagement: 87% of Donors Plan to Donate to Nonprofit Organizations in 2021, with 19% Planning to Give More in 2021

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FrontStream survey reveals new insight on charitable giving, empowering nonprofits of all sizes to maximize fundraising efforts in 2021

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FrontStream, the leading provider of a complete suite of products that empower registered nonprofit organizations and socially responsible corporations to raise more funds securely and easily for causes that effect positive change, today unveiled the results of its first annual “State of Charitable Giving and Donor Engagement” survey. The survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by FrontStream, provides an inside look at the donor landscape, revealing emerging trends in charitable giving.

Charitable giving remains strong in 2021

On the heels of a tumultuous year filled with economic and political uncertainty, charitable giving remains bright. According to the survey, 87% of respondents plan to donate to charitable organizations in 2021, with nearly one in five (19%) planning to give more money in 2021 than in 2020. Millennials are the most generous, with 55% planning to give at least $500 in 2021, followed by Gen X (44%), Gen Z (33%) and Baby Boomers (26%). Further, for companies looking to hire top-talent this year, the survey found that 54% of respondents said it was important for them to work at a company that offers workplace giving programs.

With social-distancing measures in effect for the foreseeable future, the survey also revealed how donors are adapting to the new normal, uncovering emerging trends in virtual fundraising. When asked “Which of the following virtual fundraising events would you be interested in participating in?” the top selection for respondents was “virtual activity-driven fundraising event” (39%), followed by “donate directly online” (38%), “virtual livestream videos” (34%), “virtual auctions” (23%) and “virtual galas” (22%).

Donors prefer to give multiple times a year to the causes they care about most

As nonprofits shift fundraising efforts online, the survey found that donors continue to give – and give often – to the causes they care about most. According to the survey, 87% of respondents said that they give money at least once a year, with more than half (57%) donating four or more times per year. When broken down by age, 42% of Gen Z (18-23) and 44% of Millennials (24-39) are most likely to give quarterly, while Gen X (40-55) and Baby Boomers (56+) (29%, respectively) are more likely to give two-to-three times per year. Recognizing how donors prefer to give, nonprofits can develop an effective communication strategy to engage donors throughout the year.

With COVID-19 impacting every part of the world, the survey found that respondents tend to donate money most often to “health charities” (43%), followed by “children-focused charities” (42%) and “wildlife/animal charities” (34%). More than a quarter of respondents (27%) donate to “social justice /rights charities.” When asked, “What would/does motivate you to donate money to charitable organizations?” the top response was “to help others” (31%), followed by “personally impacted by the cause” (30%), “friend or family impacted by the cause” (27%) and to “make an impact” (24%).

Multiple giving options and personalized engagement help drive donations

The survey found that donors prefer to give both online and in-person, forging the path for hybrid events post-pandemic. When asked, “How do you tend to donate money?” the top response was “online to friends, families or coworkers fundraising on behalf of a charity/nonprofit” (46%), followed by “donate money directly via the charity website” (38%), “donate money in-person to fundraisers outside of my network” (37%) and “donate money in-person directly to friends, families, coworkers who are fundraising on behalf of a charity/nonprofit” (36%). Twenty-nine percent of donors prefer to mail-in donations.

As nonprofits plan for the possibility of both in-person and online fundraising events this year, connecting with donors on the platform they prefer is key to driving engaging. Thirty-seven percent of respondents cited “email” as the preferred method to be contacted by a charitable organization regarding an upcoming fundraising effort followed by “direct mail” (34%) and “phone call” (29%). When broken down by age, Gen Z prefer to be contacted by “text” and “direct mail” (25%, respectively) while Millennials prefer “phone call” (39%), Gen X prefer “email” (51%) and Baby Boomers prefer “direct mail” (51%).

“Our aim with this survey is to uncover emerging trends in giving that will enable nonprofits of all sizes to maximize donations and drive deeper donor engagement,” said Bryna Dilman, senior director of corporate communications and product marketing at FrontStream. “We’re excited to see that the desire to support others is still a top priority for many people. Regardless of the challenges and chaos happening all around us, the passion for spreading kindness and goodness is apparent and vibrant."

To learn more about FrontStream’s “State of Charitable Giving and Donor Engagement” survey, download the report.

Survey Methodology
Commissioned by FrontStream, the “State of Charitable Giving and Donor Engagement” survey was conducted by OnePoll, a marketing research company specializing in online quantitative research and polling, between December 12 – 14, 2020. Feedback was obtained from 1,005 U.S. adults who have given to a charity in the past three years.

About FrontStream
FrontStream is mission-focused on helping registered nonprofits and corporations raise more funds for causes that effect positive change. Its complete suite of products includes Panorama, an all-in-one digital fundraising platform for managing, planning, processing and promoting fundraising events. Auctions created in Panorama are deployed and hosted on BiddingForGood, the nonprofit industry’s top donor destination site for participating in auctions happening right now. FrontStream’s fully integrated PCI level 1 compliant payment processing platform securely processes billions of dollars in transactions annually. More than 100,000 charities in North America have used FrontStream to power their digital fundraising efforts. To learn more about FrontStream visit and follow on Twitter @FrontStream.

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Amanda Corey
Gabriel Marketing Group (for FrontStream)
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