Year-end Giving During a Pandemic

By Randy Redner

In 2019, Americans gave a record $450 billion. History teaches us, though, that when times are tough Americans dig deeper and give bigger – and that’s what we’ve seen in 2020. In fact, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported in October that giving was up 7.5 percent for the first half of 2020 as compared to the same time in 2018. 

According to the Chronicle, while donors at all levels have stepped up in a big way during the pandemic, those who gave less than $250 were a major driver of growth. The number of small donations increased 19.2 percent over the first six months of last year. 

“The significant increase in gifts under $250 shows many donors have been moved to give even amid the pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty,” said Elizabeth Boris, chair of the Growth in Giving Steering Committee.

Those of us that have been at this thing called fundraising for a while are not surprised. So the question is not “will Americans give during this pandemic?” but when, where and how. Some of those answers remain to be seen but we know that in our communities we’ve certainly seen people give in unprecedented ways.

As you think about your own personal philanthropy and the many ways you could give, here is my go-to advice: give to what makes your heart happy. But as you’re considering where to give, also consider these questions. The answers will help you give more strategically.

Questions to ponder for your year-end giving:

  • Give now or later?
  • Give big or little?
  • Give one place or multiple?
  • Give local or global?
  • Give to help or to change?

Depending on how you answer these, you may want to consider opening a donor advised fund so that you can set aside your giving dollars now, reap the tax benefits and have the flexibility of giving now or next year.

While we’re on the subject of giving, remember that it goes far beyond just dollars and cents.

Don’t forget to: 

  • Volunteer
  • Use your voice
  • Mind share
  • Make connections and network 

At the Community Foundation we love helping families navigate what we call the “journey of generosity”. We simply help them understand where they are in terms of their giving and then assist them in charting a course that makes their heart happy. 

Ready to get started? We’ve created a questionnaire just for you that will help you understand why you give, what your goals are, and much more. Fill it out here: https://www.cfneg.org/growing-your-giving/

Science says giving makes you happy and healthier, and we all need both these days!

Would you like to chat with us about your journey of generosity? Contact the Community Foundation today at 770- 813-3384 or rredner@cfneg.org to schedule a free consultation!

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