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Giving USA 2020 Data Prelude

Posted: 6/18/2021

So COVID-19 is waning, we no longer are required to wear masks and summer is upon us. Take a deep breath and ask yourself "What just happened?!"

With regards to philanthropy for 2020 and early 2021, I'm happy to report, "All is well!" Attached is the summary from Giving USA's State of Philanthropy 2020 which reveals overall giving across the US increased 5.1% during the pandemic to $471.44 billion. That's right! While the world was crippled in crisis, Americans responded with unprecedented generosity. Giving is resilient, giving is responsive, and giving is bold!

Call us eternal optimists here at CapDev, but we have said since March 2020 and throughout the pandemic that donors will step up. And the overwhelming rise to the cause occurred throughout almost every socio-economic, demographic and geographic way we tend to slice our society, from small donors to the mega-wealthy!

So what did we learn?

  • First, that generosity surfaces time and time again in the face of pandemics, natural disasters or when the world is in need. There is a "common goodness" deep within all of us that seeks to help, not harm, our world, no matter how much surface tension their seems to exist as we go about our daily lives. Celebrate this desire to be part of something greater than ourselves!
  • Second, nonprofits that "leaned in" with empathy and understanding with their donors did well during the last 14 months. Donors seek out this relationship with causes that are dear to them. We even saw an influx of many new donors who are looking for a connection to missions that are important to them; the lock-down made our need to connect even more apparent. How will you continue to connect with donors?!
  • Lastly, we documented the increasing role that online giving is playing in the sector and the explosion of these gifts during the pandemic. What have you and will you do as an organization to increase your social media activity to attract and retain virtual philanthropy? Virtual is real, so get real!

Like you, it is our profound hope at CapDev that we as a society never face another pandemic. That said, we know that if and when such catastrophic events happen again, that the "joy of generosity" will evidence itself once again, people will rise up and give and spirits will be lifted. During such unnerving times, when giving seems to defy odds and logic, trust in the joy of generosity. It is in that moment of joy when I truly believe we actually come face to face with the Divine!

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