December 7, 2023

Volunteers at a food bank in Duarte, California load donation boxes.

FREDERIC J. BROWN | AFP | Getty Images

It appears that the pandemic has not adversely affected donations from wealthy households to charity.

Most wealthy Americans – about 90% – donated to charity in 2020, with a third of them more than in the past donating to organizations focused on meeting basic needs, according to research by Bank of America and the United States Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Indiana Philanthropy. Almost half of them (47%) responded directly to the pandemic, whether through donations to charities, corporations, or individuals.

“People got through,” said Ann Limberg, director of philanthropic solutions at Bank of America Private Bank. “Your resilience and dedication are a reinforcement of that [giving] Ghost.”

More from Personal Finance:
Will the $ 300 rise in unemployment hold back jobs? Yes and no
Asking these social security questions incorrectly can be costly
There is still a week left to contribute to the IRA 2020

For example, both the number of grants and the dollar amounts donated from the bank’s donor-recommended fundraising fund increased nearly 50% year over year, resulting in more than $ 500 million going to nonprofits.

Despite increased donations from wealthy households, there have been concerns about the long-term viability of some nonprofits due to a pandemic-induced decline in funds received. An analysis by nonprofit persecutor Candid in mid-2020 found that up to 28% of nonprofits could close.

“What we saw were nonprofits turning to find ways to be relevant,” Limberg said. “We saw a tremendous amount of innovation.”

That could have meant a nonprofit switching to a pantry, for example, which wasn’t part of its core business, but was needed by the community it serves.

The bank noted that there were some shifts in charity giving. More affluent donors than usual were serving the needs of the local community, and there was an increase in unreserved gifts – those that the nonprofit may use at its discretion, rather than for a specific pupose requested by the donor. There has also been an increase in virtual interaction between nonprofits and donors.

Of the affluent households that donated more to basic needs and health care over the past year, 90% made donations to local organizations, 35% supported other US nonprofit organizations outside their community, and 15% gave to international groups. Of those who gave religious organizations, 16% gave more; For donations to nonprofits that focus on education, the arts, the environment, or other areas, 12% increased their contributions.

In addition, nearly a third (30%) of wealthy donors volunteered in the past year, with 71% of them maintaining (48%) or increasing (23%) their activities.

The study surveyed more than 1,600 U.S. households with a net worth of $ 1 million or more (excluding their home) and / or an annual household income of $ 200,000 or more.