Type to search

Business Philanthropy

Donors Are Ready to Once Again Attend Fundraisers in Person, Survey Finds

Nearly 6 out of 10 charitable donors said they will be ready to participate in in-person fundraising events starting this summer, provided certain conditions are met.

According to the Giving Experience Study conducted for fundraising software company OneCause, being vaccinated is the main requirement donors have before they’re willing to attend a gala or other in-person fundraising event. Older donors want additional safety precautions in place as well, such as events being held outside or limited capacity, the survey found.

The online survey asked 1,026 “social donors,” defined as anyone who gave to at least one charitable organization by attending a fundraising event, participating in or sponsoring someone in a fundraising activity or donating or requesting donations within the last 12 months, what motivates their giving, when and how they will be comfortable returning to in-person events, and what influences repeat donations.

“As we emerge from an extended period of social distancing, we wanted to reexamine giving experiences to better understand how social giving has evolved and changed over the past year,” said Steve Johns, chief executive officer for OneCause.

The study found that overall social giving is on the rise, with an estimated 27% of U.S. adults giving in this way over the last 12 months, especially for occasions such as birthdays and memorials.

Access to MinistryWatch content is free.  However, we hope you will support our work with your prayers and financial gifts.  To make a donation, click here.

The demographics of giving have changed as well, with younger, more diverse donors increasing their giving. Gen Z and millennials now represent a majority of social donors at 56%, up from 40% in 2018, while giving among Black and Hispanic donors also has increased.

But the key motivators for giving have remained constant: ease, mission, and impact. Feeling like their donation made a difference and an easy giving experience are the most important factors driving repeat gifts, the survey found.

And while the majority of donors say they are ready to return to in-person fundraisers, they also continue to value the convenience of virtual events and would be willing to attend them in the future. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would prefer fundraisers to be mostly virtual, while 22% showed a preference for in-person and 30% anticipated attending a mix of both.

Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.