Select Page

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our society, including philanthropy. Considering the massive changes that have occurred throughout the country this year, it’s fair to wonder what the future holds for philanthropy. Here is an overview of philanthropy’s outlook in 2021. 

Charitable giving is expected to increase (but there is some concern).

In 2019, The Philanthropy Outlook projected that the total amount of charitable giving would increase by 4.8 percent in 2020, and then by another 5.1 percent in 2021. Individual giving was also expected to increase in both 2020 and 2021. The pandemic and subsequent economic downturn were not factored into these estimations, so what can we expect, considering these life-changing events? 

Surprisingly, despite a worldwide health crisis and massive unemployment, Americans have maintained their charitable giving habits, especially to large nonprofit organizations. For example, Feeding America saw a 46 percent increase in donations during the first six months of 2020. Other large nonprofits like Volunteers of America, the Communities Foundation of Texas, and the Nature Conservancy all saw massive jumps in donations during the first half of the year. 

The projections might be different, but charitable giving is still likely to be high going into 2021. Americans seem to have recognized the increased needs in our nation and have shown up to support those who need the most help. Now, with the economy slowly improving, there is reason to be optimistic about philanthropy’s outlook in the next year. 

However, some experts believe that the spark in charitable donations may have been a temporary phenomenon, as all eyes were focused on our nation’s growing need for philanthropy. They suspect that donations will slowly plateau or even decrease. Unfortunately, in an unprecedented year like this one, it has become increasingly difficult to make accurate predictions. 

Nonprofit organizations will need to be innovative.

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses and nonprofits to shift and innovate in order to stay afloat. For instance, many nonprofit organizations have previously relied on in-person events for fundraising. Walkathons, galas, and other similar fundraising efforts have mostly been canceled, rescheduled, or shifted to virtual platforms. 

Looking forward, nonprofit organizations must continue to find ways to operate and raise necessary funds in an ever-changing landscape. Their innovation needs will depend on many factors, including government regulations and the course of COVID-19. So far, with no real end of the pandemic on the horizon, it’s safe to assume that nonprofits will need to continue finding new ways to navigate the future. 

Only time will tell what 2021 holds for philanthropy, but one thing is certain — there is great need throughout our nation and the world. Let’s hope that Americans continue to show up and give back to their communities. By doing so, we can take care of one another, as well as the planet we call home.