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Americans plan less charitable giving according to new Eagle Hill research

Levels and focus of giving vary substantially by age; many do not feel safe volunteering during pandemic

Arlington, Va., November 19, 2020 – New research finds that 35 percent of Americans expect to donate less money or no money to charitable causes in the coming year as the economic crisis and high unemployment linger. But the research also indicates there are demographics that plan to increase their donations. More younger Americans (aged 18-34), for example, plan to increase their giving in the coming year when compared to Americans aged 35 and older.

charitable giving

The causes that Americans support also vary by age. Younger Americans (18-34) are more likely to direct their giving to racial justice, education and health-related causes while older Americans (55 and older) are more inclined to give to religious organizations.

These findings are contained in the Eagle Hill Consulting 2020 nonprofit Charitable Giving and Volunteering Survey conducted by Ipsos in October 2020. The survey included 1,005 respondents from a random sample of people across the U.S.

“As charitable organizations approach Giving Tuesday and plan for 2021 during a tough economic climate, it will be increasingly important for nonprofit teams to dig deep into the preferences and plans of their donor and volunteer base,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “Nonprofit teams may need to re-calibrate both who and how they are asking for support so that it is more personalized and responsive to the specific preferences and values of their stakeholders.”

“This all starts with a focus on nonprofit employees who are tasked with responding to donors and their changing needs, while also leveraging data and technology in new ways. But, this will be challenging given that nonprofits have been hard hit with layoffs in the wake of the pandemic and economic crisis. This complex new landscape facing nonprofits may require change management strategies to navigate into next year and perhaps even longer,” Jezior explained.

charitable causes

The Eagle Hill Consulting research finds that:

  • Thirty-five percent of Americans will donate less money or no money than they did last year to charitable causes.
  • Younger Americans (aged 18-34) plan to give more money to charitable causes (27 percent) and 33 percent plan to give at the same level. In contrast, only nine percent of older Americans (aged 55 and older) plan to increase their future giving.
  • The top charitable causes Americans plan to support include social services (34 percent); education (25 percent); religious organizations (22 percent); health (21 percent); COVID-19 (20 percent); environment/climate change (20 percent); and racial justice (19 percent).
  • The causes for support vary of by age. The top causes younger Americans (age 18-34) plan to support include social services (32 percent), education (31 percent) and racial justice (30 percent) causes. Older Americans also plan to support social services (37 percent), but plan to give to religious (31 percent) and medical research (22 percent) causes.
  • More than half (52 percent) of Americans do not plan to volunteer or will volunteer less next year. However, 31 percent of respondents aged 18-34 plan to volunteer more time next year than this year, compared to 14 percent for those aged 55 and older. People with children in their household typically volunteer substantially more (60 percent) than those who do not have children (36%).
  • Nearly half of Americans (44 percent) say they do not feel safe volunteering amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
less volunteering in pandemic

Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Strategy & Performance, Talent, and Change. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, from financial services to healthcare to media & entertainment. Eagle Hill has offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Boston, MA and Seattle, WA. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.

Media Contact: Susan Nealon | 703.229.8600 | snealon@eaglehillconsulting.com | @WeAreEagleHill