While it becomes increasingly easy to believe that the nonprofit sector’s glass is half empty at the present moment, the reality is that people want to help nonprofits, and they are stepping up. If you don’t believe it, I thought I’d share some of the many places you can go to get some really good, heartening news.
At the same time that 80 percent of US nonprofits surveyed were telling the BBB Wise Giving Alliance that they expect revenues will be down in 2020, Fidelity Charitable announced that giving from its donor-advised funds was up 36% this March compared to the same time last year.
Fidelity surveyed its donors who had given at least $1,000 during the second half of March. Over half had no plans to decrease their giving this year, and 25% said that they planned to increase their giving.
Including support just for COVID-19 related giving (which was $160.7 million as of yesterday, and up $20m since last Friday), total giving from Fidelity’s DAF donors so far in 2020 is well over $2 billion. This month Fidelity issued a “COVID-19 Relief Challenge” to its donors to give $200m before #GivingTuesdayNOW on May 5. This is clearly having a positive impact on their giving numbers.
If you haven’t yet read the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s April 9th article by Michael Theis titled “Giving From Donor-Advised Funds Surge as Pandemic Spreads” you should get on that now – it’s a barn-burner full of hope and a call to action. From the article:
Money is not simply flowing out of the funds. Donors are also contributing to their accounts, even though the slide in the stock market and the tumbling economy might have caused some supporters to pause their giving.
Deanna Spaulding, a spokeswoman at Fidelity Charitable, declined to provide figures for incoming gifts, but she added that the number of new fund accounts opened has also grown since the start of the year.”
And it’s not just Fidelity. DAF sponsors large and small all over the country are reporting the same thing.
Giving from funds at Schwab Charitable were up 21% February 14 – March 31 compared with the same period last year. Schwab “asked the Center for Disaster Philanthropy for a list of organizations responding to the pandemic globally and highlighted them on its website. Those organizations saw a nearly 450 percent increase (emphasis mine) in grant dollars from Schwab account holders.”
Over the past few weeks, the new CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the place where tech millionaires and billionaires send their philanthropic dollars to DAF, has been calling donors asking them to spend at least 5% of their invested funds now. And she says they’re seeing donors answering the call.
Even smaller DAF sponsors are seeing a huge uptick. ImpactAssets DAF reported to Barrons that by the end of the second quarter of 2020 investments in its fund will exceed $143 million, more than total investments made in the fund for all of last year. Their DAF donors made more than 1,000 grants totaling $11 million from their DAFs last month, two times the number made in a normal March.
If there was ever a moment for DAF donors to allocate those funds they were saving for a crisis, it’s now, and they seem to be stepping up.
Who else is giving right now? Startups.
Earlier this month, Crunchbase reported that a number of startups had accelerated their philanthropic giving due to the pandemic. Their initial article listing 24 startups grew so fast that they abandoned adding to the article and embedded a running spreadsheet of companies, which is now up to 140. Check out the interactive list to see if there’s a company donating in your area.
Also, private and family foundations, companies, and LLCs
Candid reports on their new popup COVID giving/tracking webpage that total coronavirus giving they’ve counted so far stands right now at nearly $8 billion.
Just like the number of coronavirus cases out there, there is likely lots more giving that just hasn’t been counted yet.
Donors are eager to give and, as we pointed out two weeks ago, there are plenty of companies and industries that are doing really well right now. We may have to adapt or throw out some old ways of doing things and adopt new technologies and strategies, but it appears that as the need for funding has risen, so have the numbers of donors who want to be helpful.
Charity is off the charts amid the coronavirus. Is that a sign of America’s strength or weakness? By Laurence Darmiento, LA Times, 4/20/2020
Community Funders Balance Priorities in the Face of Overwhelming Needs, by Paul Karon. Inside Philanthropy, 4/22/2020
Special Report: Covid-19 and the Charitable Sector. Give.org BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Want to see some fascinating stats on email solicitations right now? NextAfter has created a web page chock-full of real-time analysis of 90 nonprofits with lovely charts and graphs showing
- The types of verticals in the analysis
- Median monthly visitors for each vertical (the top nonprofit type has 4x the visitors of #2)
- How has the average number of gifts changed Jan-April this year vs last?
- How has avg. revenue been affected in recent months? (Spoiler: it mostly hasn’t)
- How has each vertical changed their volume of messaging in recent months? (these numbers were really interesting).