A new report released by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute explores how the COVID-19 pandemic affected philanthropy in the U.S. Between May 2020 and May 2021, the report shows how various social and economic forces influenced charitable giving.


Strain on Women

The report found that while the overall charitable giving by households increased from May 2020 to May 2021, the contributions by married and partnered couples and single women decreased. This is different from previous research, which has shown that women are more likely to give than men.


The effects of the pandemic have been known to have disproportionately affected women. Many left the workforce and are less likely to receive government support for child care. This is compared to other developed countries.


The report found that the pandemic has also affected married couples’ philanthropy. It revealed that the economic impact of the pandemic on households’ giving was strong, with income loss or job loss being associated with volunteering and giving.


Continued Generosity

The report also stated that despite the economic impact of the pandemic, households in the U.S. were still able to give despite the challenges they faced. They continued to support organizations that were focused on providing basic needs.


The report also noted that the percentage of households giving directly to COVID-19 relief increased significantly during the early stages of the pandemic. 


Meeting Crisis Needs

During the pandemic, many council members could better adapt their giving strategies to address their communities needs. Organizations shifted their focus from traditional giving to more community-focused initiatives. The pathways to give have become more apparent as leaders elevate their programs and models. It was also a time for philanthropists to step up their efforts and support those most affected by the pandemic.


As fundraisers get ready to plan for 2023, they must be able to consider the various factors that will affect their giving in 2023. According to the report, the effects of COVID-19 were felt by different households, especially those with higher income levels. Development professionals and nonprofits should also be sensitive to these changes and consider adjusting their appeals based on the needs of their donors.


The pandemic has affected everyone’s aspects of their lives. It has changed how we work, spend our time, and give back. While some of these changes will only be temporary, others will stay with us for a long time.