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The state of fundraising in 2021

By September 8, 2021Steier Wire

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the landscape of life as we know it. And had a big impact on fundraising. But, despite economic hardships and social changes, fundraising performed well in 2020 with a bright future on the horizon.

In this issue of Steier Wire, we’ve explored the ins and outs of successful campaigns for our clients. Now we can look at the bigger picture.

According to Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report, giving grew by 2% in 2020. Which is good news, considering the financial upheaval that came with the pandemic. Also, Blackbaud found that online giving grew by 20.7% compared to 2019. That accounted for $3.2 billion of the $40.7 billion in donations tracked by Blackbaud.

But giving isn’t stopping with the change to 2021. Multiple surveys and studies anticipate another year of growth in donations. According to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, total giving is anticipated to rise 4.1% in 2021 and 5.7% in 2022.

That projection is supported by first quarter data. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project found that giving grew in first quarter 2021 by 6% compared to Q1 2020. And FEP also saw an increase in the number of donors by 10%.

While giving is up across the board, FEP found that it was not up for all sectors. Giving to Human Services and religious organizations were up while giving to the other four sectors went down.

Giving Tuesday found that in 2020 growth was highest in repeat donors, accounting for 82% of growth despite representing 46% of dollars donated. That means keeping your donors engaged and in the loop should prove even more vital in 2021.

The increase in donors in 2020 and 2021 is driven by small donations. Giving Tuesday found that, unlike large donors, small donors sustained their giving throughout the year. They gave in April 2020 and then continued giving, often at rates above 2019 donations. This is a reversal of recent trends where fewer donors were giving larger sums.

This increase in active donors is great news for Catholic organizations and presents an area of growth in 2021 and beyond.