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Trust in charities steady but giving rates declining, survey finds | Philanthropy news



While public trust has been relatively steady since 2017, overall donor participation rates continued to decline in 2020, a report from BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s Give.org finds.

Based on a survey of more than twenty-one hundred adults in the United States and more than a thousand adults in Canada, the report, Give.org Donor Trust Report 2021: Profiles in Charity Trust and Giving (60 pages, PDF), found that the share of respondents who say they “highly trust” charities has ranged between 16.8 percent and 19 percent over the last four years. Among the thirteen issue areas analyzed in the study, civil rights and community organizations and environmental groups saw an increase in the share of respondents expressing “high trust” in 2020, while religious institutions and police and firefighter organizations saw a decline. In eight of the issue areas, the share of respondents giving to a nonprofit in that area fell in 2020, with youth development organizations seeing the largest drop, from 18.3 percent in 2019 to 13.1 percent. Five issue areas saw no change or a slight increase in the portion of respondents reporting giving in 2020: social services (26.9 percent in 2019 and 2020), health (24 percent and 24.7 percent), environment (14.6 percent and 16.1 percent), and arts and culture (10.2 percent and 13 percent).

According to the report, the share of respondents who said they did not give through any of thirteen channels — including mailed appeals, charity websites, and fundraising events — increased from 16.4 percent in December 2018, to 20 percent in December 2019, to 24.9 percent in December 2020. At the same time, the survey found that 12.7 percent of all respondents expressed a desire to be approached more by charities and 20.4 percent said that they might be willing to give more if approached, with higher rates among African Americans (22 percent and 28.1 percent) and Gen Zers (18.6 percent and 37.2 percent). And while 33.6 percent of all respondents said they preferred donating to a charity serving specific needs in their ethnic communities, African Americans (51.4 percent) and Gen Zers (42.1 percent) were more likely to say so.

“The sector is facing a participation crisis where, despite growing overall giving, the portion of Americans contributing to charities is decreasing,” said Give.org president and CEO H. Art Taylor. “Based on self-reported giving to different charity types, our results suggest that the trend continued during 2020. This is a worrisome trend as we strive to build a diverse and inclusive charitable sector.”



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One-third of donors directed half their giving to disaster relief | Philanthropy news



Last year, 37 percent of American donors gave half or more of their charitable contributions to disaster relief efforts, and 64 percent gave to a charity they had never supported before, a survey commissioned by Vanguard Charitable finds.

Conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Vanguard Charitable, the survey of more than 1,300 American donors found that the top reasons American donors gave to disaster relief included wanting to assist those impacted by humanitarian crises (46 percent), feeling overwhelmed by a situation and wanting to help (33 percent), seeing charitable giving as the only way they could provide support (30 percent), and having a personal connection to the disaster/crisis (30 percent). The survey found that donors who contributed to disaster relief efforts gave more overall, meaning that disaster relief giving did not take away from, or occur in place of, ongoing giving. 

“From COVID-19 to a devastating humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, we’ve seen donors respond to disaster relief needs in inspiring and meaningful ways,” said Vanguard Charitable president Rebecca Moffett. “In fact, this data reflects that disaster relief support is an integral part of the giving landscape, often increasing total generosity as donors look to give when and where support is needed most. And because the money in donor-advised funds has already been set aside for charitable purposes, donations from DAFs tend to be more responsive in moments of crisis, and more resilient during moments of economic uncertainty.”

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Drazen Zigic)



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Trust in nonprofits fell slightly last year, survey finds | Philanthropy news



While there is room for U.S. institutions across the board to increase public trust, a majority of respondents believe nonprofits will do what is right for society, a survey conducted by Independent Sector finds. 

Conducted in February in partnership with Edelman Data & Intelligence, the third-annual Trust in Civil Society survey found that 56 percent of Americans said they trust nonprofits, down 3 percentage points from the 2020 benchmark study (59 percent). Trust in philanthropy edged down from 36 percent to 34 percent during the same period. According to the survey, financial well-being and education are major drivers of trust, and trust of nonprofits among women fell during the pandemic.

Given the findings, Independent Sector recommended that nonprofits work to make greater progress to support and strengthen the country, for example by leveraging trust in the social sector to strengthen U.S. democracy, deepening engagement with communities and institutions, and upholding public expectations of government accountability.

“Increasing public trust of institutions and the social sector is a pressing issue for the U.S. We all benefit from strong public trust,” said Independent Sector president and CEO Daniel J. Cardinali. “Trust is the priceless currency for nonprofits, philanthropies, business charity programs, and all of us to build a healthy, equitable society. We see what happens when trust breaks. Our 2022 Independent Sector Trust in Civil Society report elevates important data and recommendations for conversations about how the social sector can engage more deeply and do better so everyone in our country thrives.” 

(Photo credit: Getty Images/SDI Productions)



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Digital, other channels of giving are expanding, study finds | Philanthropy news



Emerging trends in the United Kingdom and Brazil reveal an expansion of digital and other types of channels for giving, including online giving, crowdfunding, charity rounding up, and social impact publishing, a new research series from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI finds.

The research series, Digital for Good: A Global Study on Emerging Ways of Giving, builds on the school’s Global Philanthropy Environment Index and Global Philanthropy Tracker and will be released in phases over the next five months. The first two studies examine philanthropic engagement in Brazil and the UK prior to and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with profiles of China, India, Kenya, Singapore, South Africa, and South Korea to follow.

Based on an analysis of three case studies in Brazil, the first profile found that prominent emerging ways of giving include charity rounding up, crowdfunding, and social impact publishing, which involves the production of inspiring, revenue-producing editorial content. Donations collected through rounding up for charity via Arredondar increased from BRL1,091 in 2013 (equivalent to $590 in 2021, adjusted for inflation) to more than BRL1.6 million in 2020 (equivalent to $330,186 in 2021, adjusted for inflation). In addition, the study found that the most successful initiatives prioritized transparency and accountability in giving.

Based on an online survey of nearly 3,000 individuals in the UK, the profile found that prominent expanded methods of giving include online giving and crowdfunding. Among donors interviewed between May and July 2021, 60 percent reported that gifts they had made in the past year had been made online, with the most common way being through a third-party app. In addition, researchers found that 63 percent of people who used social media to request donations also made requests in person.

“The results of the first two country profiles suggest an evolution in giving practices and highlight a significant expansion of digital giving practices and peer-to-peer giving,” said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “While these findings are the first in a series, the documented growth in digital giving and shifting donor expectations in the UK and in Brazil reinforce existing evidence that digital practices can help democratize the practice of philanthropy. Digital innovation makes philanthropy accessible and fosters greater transparency and accountability for how gifts lead to impact.”

(Photo credit: Getty Images)



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