Study: Pandemic Has Impact On Social Donors

Social giving is on the rise, particularly among younger donors and minority donors, according to a new survey of donor behaviors during the 12 months after the pandemic was declared.

The Giving Experience Study by OneCause was compiled from an online survey of more than 1,000 social donors. The survey was conducted by Edge Research between March 31 and April 14. A social donor is defined as anyone who self-reports giving to at least one charity by attending a fundraising event; participating or sponsoring someone in a fundraising activity, like a run, work or ride; or donating or requesting donations for an occasion, challenge or giving month or day within the last 12 months.

“As we emerge from an extended period of social distancing, we wanted to re-examine giving experiences to better understand how social giving has evolved and changed over the past year,” Steve Johns, CEO of the Indianapolis, Ind.-based online and event fundraising company, said via a statement. “The data suggests that a year of virtual fundraising is improving access to philanthropy, with younger, more diverse donors giving at higher rates,” he said.

The number of social donors who self-report whey will give monthly or annually increased to 47%, up from 28% in the 2018 study. The most important factors driving repeat gifts were feeling like their donation made a difference and an easy giving experience, according to the report.

An estimated 27% of U.S. adults gave through events and peer-to-peer fundraising over the last 12 months, up from 23% in a similar survey conducted in 2018. The most popular ways social donors said that they gave:

40%: runs, walks and rides
39%: occasions
38%: Giving Days
32%: events
28%: challenges

The total charitable donations from Millennials continues to increase, data in the report shows, on par with Baby Boomers and Matures. Millennials also give higher average donations to social giving events and campaigns compared to all other generations.

Giving by White/Non-Hispanic donors was 59% of the respondents, down from 69% in the 2018 study. Hispanics accounted for 22% of Social Donors last year, up from 18% while Blacks were 18%, up from 7% in 2018.

To continue reaching a broader, more diverse group of donors post pandemic, nonprofit fundraising should incorporate a mix of virtual and in-person giving opportunities, according to Karrie Wozniak, chief marketing officer. “No matter if your fundraiser is in-person, virtual or hybrid, the key is to prioritize ease throughout the giving experience, while providing donors opportunity to connect with the mission and understand their impact,” she said.

Giving through a nonprofit’s website jumped to 48%, up from 38% in 2018 while giving by check in or in-person dropped to 36%, down from 55% in the previous study. Mobile donations jumped to 23%, up from 8% in 2018 while giving through the mail rose to 16%, up from 7% in the prior study.

Almost 60% of donors said they will feel comfortable attending in-person fundraising events this summer. When asked what their post-pandemic engagement would look like, 38% of Social Donors said they were leaning toward mostly virtual, with 22% preferring in-person, and 30% expecting to attend a mix of both.