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Charitable Giving Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels, BNY Mellon Report Says

Charitable giving started to rebound in 2021 after declining in 2020 and has now returned to historical, pre-pandemic trends, according to BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s 2022 Annual Charitable Gift Report.

BNY surveyed 200 high net worth investors about their philanthropy and found the number and total dollar amount of their 2021 gifts increased by 10%.

“Even with the present market uncertainty, people don’t stop giving,” said Crystal Thompkins, head of philanthropic solutions at BNY Mellon Wealth Management. “With the majority of planned gifts still being funded with cash, it’s important to focus on conversations about appreciated assets and ownership. There are significant opportunities for nonprofits to optimize giving by working with donors to consider non-cash gifts and craft unique gift solutions.”

Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they had given to faith-based/religious organizations in the past 12 months. New giving in the category totaled $1.7 million and repeat giving $877,000, for a total of nearly $2.6 million. The average grant to a faith-based/religious organization was $7,000. 

Organizations in the healthcare/medical research sector received the most gifts, from 57% of those surveyed.  

Cash gifts were by far the most popular (83%) overall, with non-cash gifts representing 17%.

New donors (51%) outnumbered repeat donors (49%) and made larger gifts.

The report analyzed statistics related to charitable gift annuity and charitable remainder trust activity during calendar year 2021 for 101 nonprofit organizations and the BNY Mellon Charitable Gift Fund. 

Organizations represented included education (56%); faith-based (20%); social services/other (14%); cultural (6%); and healthcare (4%). Data for the report is based on completed gift records in BNY Mellon’s database as of March 30, 2022.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.