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Survey: Economic Challenges Not Expected to Derail Charitable Giving
Ohio Ag Connection - 01/31/2023

Even with the looming threat of rising inflation, a potential recession and corporate workforce reductions, Americans remain steadfast in charitable giving. In its new Risk Radar Report – Charitable Giving in America, Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer), an insurer founded in 1897 and based in Merrill, Wis., of nonprofits, schools, camps and houses of worship, found more than half of Americans (53%) expect to maintain their 2022 charitable donations/giving behavior in the new year. Moreover, 10% expect to increase the amount they’re giving to charity in 2023.

“Nonprofits, schools, camps and houses of worship rely on the selfless generosity of others to fulfill their missions,” said Nicole Jolley, Church Mutual’s assistant vice president – Nonprofit and Human Services. “Of the 71% we surveyed who currently donate to charity, 63% expect to maintain or increase their giving in 2023. That’s encouraging news for purpose-driven organizations nationwide since a decrease in donations can put many organizations at risk.

Twenty-five percent of survey respondents plan to reduce their donations in 2023. Reasons cited include concerns about their ability to make routine payments (house, car, etc.), job stability and financial capacity to give to charitable causes.

Giving Trends by Generation

Risk Radar Report also uncovered several key expected giving trends by generation, including:

- Most Baby Boomers (65%) anticipate making no changes to their charitable giving in 2023.

- Members of Generation Z (31%) are most likely to decrease charitable giving in 2023, followed closely by Generation X (30%).

- Millennials (15%) are most likely to increase charitable giving in 2023.

Future Donation Expectations

Gen Z (18-25) - Make No Change 39%; Reduce 31%; Increase 11%; Stop 12%; Replace w/Volunteering 6%

Millennials (26-41) - Make No Change 47%; Reduce 24%; Increase 15%; Stop 6%; Replace w/Volunteering 8%

Gen X (42-57) - Make No Change 49%; Reduce 30%; Increase 9%; Stop 7%; Replace w/Volunteering 5%

Baby Boomers (58+) - Make No Change 65%; Reduce 22%; Increase 7%; Stop 2%; Replace w/Volunteering 5%

“Given that older generations are often more established financially than younger generations, it makes sense that we see differences among charitable giving plans for 2023,” said Jolley. “Moreover, it’s encouraging that Generation Z (11%) and Millennials (15%) surpass Baby Boomers (7%) and Generation X in increasing their expected level of giving for the new year.”

In terms of earmarking their donations for certain types of organizations, Risk Radar found that Generation X is the most likely to donate to houses of worship; Generation Z to schools; Millennials to camps; and Baby Boomers to other nonprofits.

Charitable Givers Prefer Tried-and-True Donations Methods

Even with the proliferation of online and mobile/app-based giving methods, Risk Radar found that most charitable givers are sticking with tried-and-true methods. Seventy percent of those who donate do so via delivering cash or a check in person or through the mail. In fact, in-person cash and checks are the preferred donation method even for tech-savvy Generation Z.

Donation Methods by Generation

Gen Z (18-25) - Cash/Check in person 80%; Online 28%; Mobile Payment App 29%; Other 2%

Millennials (26-41) - Cash/Check in person 68%; Online 51%; Mobile Payment App 38%; Other 1%

Gen X (42-57) - Cash/Check in person 70%; Online 38%; Mobile Payment App 24%; Other 3%

Baby Boomers (58+) - Cash/Check in person 70%; Online 35%; Mobile Payment App 12%; Other 6%

Said Jolley, “Many nonprofits, schools and houses of worship have been operating under the assumption that donations have been increasingly moving to online and mobile platforms. However, the data shows that’s not the case. Organizations need to remain flexible in how they solicit and accept donations to maximize their fundraising potential.”

Fundraising Tips

Even with the majority of Americans maintaining or increasing their charitable giving in 2023, Church Mutual has three key tips for nonprofits, schools, camps and houses of worship looking to increase donations in the new year:

- Offer multiple platforms/channels for accepting donations – and don’t discount traditional methods such as in-person cash/check delivery.

- Use potential economic downturns or challenges as opportunities to ramp up fundraising activity – consumers still expect to donate to the organizations and causes that are important to them, and a meaningful number are actually looking to increase their contribution level.

- Consider generational differences and preferences (e.g., financial security, purpose-driven orientation) when reaching out to perspective donors – personalization is key.

As always, when working with donations it’s increasingly important to continue protecting organizations from theft. Donors should always know the authorized methods of giving so they’re not caught by a scam attempt while organizations themselves should keep up to date on theft and cybersecurity trends and have measures in place to prevent unauthorized access.

Additional theft and cybersecurity safety resources can be found at:

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