Amid pandemic surge, most donors plan to give the same or more to charity this year than in 2020

Elevated interest continues in giving to hunger, cures for diseases and local community needs

Volunteers want to get back to work—many virtually

BOSTON, September 15, 2021 – As donors consider their charitable giving decisions in 2021, some pandemic-related influences seem here to stay. According to a study by Fidelity Charitable, a significant percentage of donors gave more to charity in 2020 than they did the previous year, and virtually all of them (93 percent) plan to give the same (67 percent) or even more (26 percent) this year.

2021 COVID-19 giving plans

“A year and a half into the pandemic, donors are continuing to display inspiring generosity,” said Kristen Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of Fidelity Charitable. “A third say the events of last year will have a long-term influence on their behaviors, including the amount they give to charity and the causes they support. We hope these trends continue, as so many nonprofits are still attempting to recover.”

While the pandemic has inspired elevated giving levels among many donors, it has also called attention to new issues. Many donors say they are more aware of issues related to cures for diseases, local community needs and hunger—and roughly 30 percent of donors say they will give more to each of these issues in 2021 than they did the previous year.

2021 COVID- 19 Giving cause areas

Donors could also continue to embrace new channels and methods for giving in 2021. Twenty-nine percent say they will purchase more products from socially responsible businesses this year. Twenty-eight percent say they will make more donations online, and the same number will give more money directly to individuals, family or friends.

Following a drop last year in volunteerism due to the pandemic, many donors are now looking to increase their involvement. Thirty-five percent of donors plan to spend more time volunteering in the future—and many will continue to do so virtually, embracing a shift that took place during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, only 17 percent of donors volunteered virtually, but that nearly doubled in 2020 to 30 percent. Moving forward, one-third of donors now say they plan to do part or all of their volunteer activities virtually. 

Read the detailed results from the survey.

Methodology: This report is based on a study conducted in July and August of 2021 by Artemis Strategy Group, an independent research firm, on behalf of Fidelity Charitable. The study examined the effect of COVID-19 on giving behavior among 701 adults in the U.S. who donated at least $1,000 to charity in 2020.

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 328,000 nonprofit organizations with $51 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple, and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable,  visit

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