According to Giving USA, giving by individuals totaled $324.10 billion in 2020.¹ Adjusted for inflation, this represented a 1% increase in giving compared to 2019.
Despite many uncertainties ensuing in 2020 due to the pandemic, financial markets showed growth by the end of the year which reflects in the total number of donors rising swiftly in 2020. With disposable personal income in the United States up 7.0 percent over 2019, these numbers directly effects the overall giving by individuals. Although new donors grew by 18.5 percent, retention rates with donors continued to be a challenge. Reports suggest that individuals were donating to causes they weren’t giving to before like COVID-19 relief organizations. This evidence reinforces the importance of retention and sustainable stewardship as tenets of any organization’s fundraising strategy.
1 2021, Giving USA, Giving USA 2021: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2020
Median Donation Amounts
In 2021 the median donation amount for gifts above $1,000 was $2,500 and $20 for gifts below $1,000.3 Additionally, the average online donation amount was $204. Combined with these figures, you can better target the right donors—those with capacity and a propensity to give to your cause—just by knowing more about their spending habits. Metrics like median donation amount, coupled with donation history, online giving performance, and more can help create a more composite picture of your supporters.
According to the Charitable Giving Report, in 2021 29% of all first-year, offline only donors were retained. For multi-year donors, 60% of offline-only donors were retained. As giving and engagement channels continue to proliferate, donors and fundraisers alike have a harder job staying connected, and fundraisers struggle to measure the real impact of various efforts. These figures reassert the need to meet your supporters where they are as they continually occupy the driver’s seat of constituent engagement.
Donor retention reflects how you keep in contact with your donors and build a pathway for their continued support. It is a direct, quantifiable reflection of how you are engaging your donors and communicating your mission and your online presence can amplify these aims. According to the Charitable Giving Report 23% of first-year, online-only donors were retained in 2021, compared to 64% of multiyear, online-only donors. This underscores the significant benefits organizations can welcome by prioritizing stewardship and online optimization as components in their retention strategy.