The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the nonprofit sector in a number of ways. What effect COVID-19 might have on charitable behavior, like volunteering, remains to be seen. In this episode, we talk to Nathan Dietz, associate research scholar at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a senior researcher at its Do Good Institute.
He and Robert Grimm co-authored “Community In Crisis: A Look at How U.S. Charitable Actions and Civic Engagement Change in Times of Crisis.” The 12-page report looks at charitable behavior after three crises: the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the Great Recession.
“Given the dramatic and sudden changes in social life, many observers believe the novel coronavirus pandemic is likely to exert a much larger impact on civic engagement in America than any other event in recent history. Already, observers are drawing contrasts with the Great Recession, which did not seem to have a lasting impact on many charitable and civic trends,” according to the report.
“Like a lot of research reports that have come out recently, this was just driven by the immediacy” of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis, Dietz said. “We talked about it in mid-March, put something out about what happens with charitable behavior when a big national crisis hits,” he said. “The scope of this crisis was going to be unlike anything else,” he said of the pandemic, adding that the Great Recession affected the entire country and lasted almost two years.
“We were interested in not just what happened in places where it happened, whether there was a surge in activity — which is what we expected — we were interested in what happens after that; after the crisis drops off the front page of out-of-town newspapers. How long before engagement and civic activities drop back to normal,” Dietz said.
The percentage of adults who volunteered through or for organizations reached their highest levels nationally and in the New York City metropolitan area in the years after Sept. 11. Volunteer rates from 2006 to 2015 have never been as high as the rates from the early post-Sept. 11 years, both nationally or in the New York City region.
There was a burst of activity right after crises in New Orleans and New York City, with people starting to serve at higher rates by the mid-2010s, what was happening nationally was happening in those areas as well, Dietz said. Both local and visiting volunteers in New Orleans boosted the volunteer rate there by as much as 20 percent. “It’s also a good illustration of what people do and to what extent people respond in extreme ways when fellow Americans need help,” Dietz said.
Between 2006 and 2012, the national adult volunteer rate was never higher than 27 percent and never less than 26 percent. By about 2013, there started to be a significant decline in all charitable indicators, and by 2015, the rate hit a 15-year low of 24.9 percent.
“We saw it in New Orleans in a shocking way because the declines were so severe, between the early and mid 2010s,” Dietz said. “That made us realize that even though there was something going on nationwide — maybe discouraging participation in some sense — it was even happening, in places where not that long ago, there had been a surge in civic activity,” he said.
“What we’re seeing now is very different, mainly because of the social distancing and sheltering in place regulations we’re all having to live under. That’s disrupted business as usual for many nonprofits,” Dietz said.
Since 1.6 million nonprofit jobs were lost in the three months after the pandemic was declared, steady growth in nonprofit jobs each month was derailed in December, wiping out nearly two months of gains. It’s projected to take 1.5 years for the sector to recover entirely but within most fields it could be a year […]
If there was a list of dirty words for the nonprofit sector, overhead would likely be number one on the list. In spite of efforts like The Overhead Myth, it can still be a source of frustration for nonprofit employees and executives yet donors still seem to be hung up on the phrase. Ellie Heng […]
The nation’s largest nonprofits reported aggregate revenue of $86.4 billion in 2019, which is up 1 percent over the previous year. Those figures come from The NonProfit Times‘ 2020 NPT 100 report, a study of the largest nonprofits in the United States. Jacob Harold, executive vice president at Candid, shares his insights during a discussion about […]
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding and the next few years will be huge for nonprofits in adopting the technology as a strategic tool, from the program side to the fundraising side. Authors Beth Kanter and Allison Fine join this episode of The NonProfit Times‘ Fresh Research podcast to discuss their paper, “Unlocking […]
It’s nothing new to fundraisers and planned gift officers that women and childless couples are the prime prospects for bequests and other estate gifts. New research suggests that those are still huge factors in the process but timing your nonprofit’s communication based on recency of gifts might be exactly the wrong way to go. Russell […]
Charity Navigator this month unveiled the first pillar of its new rating system. Years in the making, the Encompass Rating System (ERS) expands the number of charities rated from 9,000 to almost 160,000. President and CEO Michael Thatcher joins the Fresh Research podcast to explain the four “beacons” that will comprise the 100-point rating system: […]
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the nonprofit sector in a number of ways. What effect COVID-19 might have on charitable behavior, like volunteering, remains to be seen. In this episode, we talk to Nathan Dietz, associate research scholar at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a senior researcher at its Do Good […]
The percentage of household income given to charity each year generally runs about 2 percent across most income levels, but goes up with wealth, according to a new research paper. Benjamin Priday, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Texas A&M University, joined the Fresh Research podcast to discuss, “Generosity Across Income and […]
“I feel I am valued in this organization.” “I can trust what this organization tells me.” “Most days, I feel I have made progress at work.” Those are three of the top 10 drivers identified in the 2020 Best Nonprofits To Work For. The special report appears annually in the April edition of The NonProfit […]
Regular programming for the Fresh Research podcast has been pre-empted this month to tackle the the issue that has impacted life worldwide the past few weeks: the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The NonProfit Times recently hosted a webinar on mail and digital messaging to donors during COVID-19, which has led to widespread shutdowns of non-essential business […]
This episode of Fresh Research tackles the options when it comes to donors appeals. Should your appeal take aim at the donor and benefits to them, or instead remind them how their gift would benefit the community? John List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago collaborated with James J. Murphy […]
Thanking donors for their gifts may be the right thing to do but does it lead to more gifts or bigger donations in the future? A thank you call to a donor for their gift may be just polite and considered the right thing to do but a recent study suggests that they won’t impact […]
About $1.60 of every $100 in charitable giving in the United States goes to an organization exclusively dedicated to women and girls. A new report estimates that more than 45,000 nonprofit organizations are dedicated to women and girls and receive about $6.3 billion in charitable contributions. That makes up about 3.3 percent of all charities […]
#GivingTuesday will be here before you know it. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving — this year, Dec. 3 — is when the charitable sector has come together to help offset the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday last year was responsible for raising an estimated $400 million. That figure has grown each year since […]
The number of taxpayers who itemized last year has been in steep decline, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data. Why? And why is that important? Well, most charitable giving in the U.S. comes from itemizers. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 nearly doubled the standard deduction. Fewer than 1 in […]
The nonprofit sector employs some 12.3 million people and accounts for more than 10 percent of the workforce in the United States. Payrolls exceed that of construction, finance and transportation. The number of nonprofits has increased by almost 75 percent between 2000 and 2016. There are 1.425 million nonprofits in the United States, including almost […]
Giving USA estimated that charitable giving in the United States was $427.71 billion overall in 2018, a less-than-1-percent increase over the $424.74 billion for 2017, according to preliminary estimates from “Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018,” released last month. Adjusted for inflation, giving was actually down 1.7 percent over the […]
Two researchers at Princeton University took a closer look at charitable donations to analyze how the philanthropic behavior of Millennials compares to earlier generations. “Are Millennials Really So Selfish? Preliminary evidence from the Philanthropy Panel Study” was published by Harvey Rosen, The John L. Weinberg Professor of Economics and Business Policy Emeritus at Princeton University, […]
The 13th annual M+R Benchmarks Study is chock full of data almost as far as the eye can see. That’s what happens when you analyze 4.4 million emails sent to 37.5 million email addresses, more than 7 million online gifts and $376 million raised, all from a variety of 135 nonprofits of all shapes and […]
Waiting a month to ask for a gift decreases the likelihood of a donation by 30 percent. That’s according to research on positive reciprocity that looked at more than 18,000 donation solicitations by a university hospital system. “Field study of charitable giving reveals that reciprocity decays over time” was published by Judd Kessler, associate professor […]