Generous Americans Are Actually Giving More To Charities Through The Pandemic, Surveys Say
It looks like the frequency of charitable giving by individuals in the US is continuing—and even increasing—during the economic uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.
The report from Lending Tree reported that about two-thirds of respondents said they had not changed their charitable giving habits from previous years—with 34% donating more than once within the last year.
The report also uncovered increases in forms of giving which aren’t usually recorded due to the inability to write them off on income taxes. These included donating to a local relief fund (13%) and sending money to a loved one who was laid off (12%).
56% said they make recurring donations, meaning they donate to the same charity or organization once a month or more often.
The generosity was impressive when it involved people they knew personally who are affected by the lockdowns: “Some consumers (30%) continue to pay for services they can’t use due to social distancing guidelines, like housekeeping and babysitting.”
There was a lot of public debate before the first U.S. stimulus package was passed about whether people who had monetary means or property would—upon recognizing the gravity of the financial blow the country was about to receive—continue to support people who relied on them for their livelihoods.
The survey shows that many did indeed choose to make sure person-to-person service providers did not fall on hard times.
The CARES Act, the first COVID-19 stimulus package, encouraged donations by allowing regular household earners to write-off anything larger than $300 from their income tax total without requiring them to go through the process of itemizing their deductions.
Heavy duty giving – up a whopping 667%
While personal charity is a great marker to judge how charitable a society is, it’s equally amazing to note that large-scale corporate giving actually increased during 2020.
In June, Fidelity Charitable, the largest organizer of donor-advised funds (DAFs)—a kind of charitable savings account—reported that these funds have donated $3.4 billion in 2020, a 28% increase in giving in the first six months, over the same period over the previous year.
Together the donors directed a whopping 667% increase in their grants to food banks and other food assistance programs across the States.
In June, Good News Network reported that Charles Schwab alone saw a 46% increase in DAF grants, totaling $1.7 billion across 330,000 separate grants, it was the most generous period of giving recorded in the history of one of America’s largest philanthropic funds.
“The last six months have been incredibly challenging, and I am truly inspired to see donors utilize their donor-advised funds to help communities and nonprofits impacted by health, economic, and social crises,” says Kim Laughton, President of Schwab Charitable.
Washington Examiner also reported on a statistic that found DAFs managed in 32 different community foundations in 21 different states “reported an 80 percent increase in donations… from March to May, compared with the same period last year.”
This is a heartening reminder once again that the United States has some very generous citizens, despite COVID-19 concerns.