The 2022 Holiday Giving Season
Insights from surveyed donors and charities.
Charity Navigator surveyed 3011 donors and 853 charities to gain insights into how the 2022 giving season compared to the 2021 giving season. These findings are not a comprehensive assessment of giving, but they can provide a window into the trends that shaped the season.
Fundraising in the 2022 Giving Season
37.2% of surveyed charities reported receiving more than the previous giving season, and approximately one-third of those reported receiving at least 25% more.
41% of the charities reported raising less money during the 2022 giving season, with almost half of those organizations reporting that they received at least 25% less than the previous giving season.
Implications for Charities’ Plans and Programs
While fundraising changed for most organizations (only 21.8% reported that their fundraising was about the same for the 2022 giving season), 61.5% of charities indicated that they will stay the course and that their programs will remain unaffected. Significantly more charities (27.2%) plan to create or enhance their programs than to downsize or eliminate programs (11.3%).
Giving in a Struggling Economy
Donors and charities alike reported that the struggling economy impacted their giving season. 80.2% of surveyed charities that received less funding during the 2022 giving season believe the economy was the primary factor. Surveyed donors confirm those suspicions.
46.6% of surveyed donors reported giving about the same amount during the 2022 giving season as they did the prior year during the same period. 29.2% reported giving more, and 24.2% reported giving less. However, almost twice as many noted giving significantly less (11.6%) versus those giving significantly more (6.4%).
35% of donors who reported giving less cited high inflation in 2022 as a reason for decreased giving. The stock market downturn (31.4%) and loss of work or income (28.9%) were also significant factors. Only 4.4% of the donors cited a lack of interest as a reason for decreased giving during the 2022 giving season.
While economic challenges left many with less to give, they also inspired those with the means to be more philanthropic. 43.9% of those who gave more in the 2022 giving season than in the previous year reported that they did so to support those negatively impacted by the economy and inflation.
It is important to remember that the economy impacts what the dollar amounts received mean for charities. For example, charities that raised roughly the as in the previous giving season (21.7%) will see the same dollar amount but a lower purchasing power for their dollar. At the same time, charities that plan to maintain their course and programs (61.5%) are likely to see increased demand as more people face economic hardship and require assistance. This will be most relevant for charities providing essential services to people, including food and shelter.
Giving in Troubled Times
In addition to economic challenges, donors who increased their giving during the 2022 giving season were motivated by political and social concerns (46.2%) and the severity and frequency of natural disasters (31.2%). This is unsurprising, given polling in the summer of 2022 showed just 13% of Americans felt the country was headed in the right direction.
2022 was also a difficult year for disasters. The U.S. alone experienced 18 weather/climate disaster events, with losses exceeding $1 billion each in 2022. This is part of a well-established trend toward more frequent, higher-damage disasters. The pressure created by these challenges is changing giving and will continue to do so in years to come.
The Use of Charity Navigator
62.5% of surveyed donors reported using Charity Navigator the same amount in the 2022 giving season as they did the previous year, indicating that most users have made Charity Navigator a consistent part of their giving strategy.
Among those who used Charity Navigator less (26.7%), giving less was the most-cited reason (32.5% of responses). Some donors used Charity Navigator less due to changes to the platform (11.3%), and many had their reasons for using Charity Navigator less (60.2%). Those reasons ranged from lack of time/effort to feeling confident in giving to the same charities as in previous years.
10.8% of respondents said they used Charity Navigator more in the 2022 giving season than in the 2021 giving season. 35.8% cited increased charitable giving as the reason for increased use. 45.1% of those who used Charity Navigator more cited changes to the platform as the reason for their increased use. For the 42.6% who had other reasons for increasing their use of Charity Navigator, those reasons ranged from increased caution to simply learning that Charity Navigator existed.
The End of AmazonSmile
Overall, the surveyed charities were unconcerned with the end of AmazonSmile -- a program that allowed consumers to direct .5% of their spending on eligible Amazon purchases to a registered charity of their choice. 34% of the organizations have no concerns, while only 2.8% responded with the highest level of concern. Donors who want to help ensure the financial stability of charities impacted by the end of Smile can take action steps now.
Donation bundling (sometimes called donation bunching) is a tax strategy that consolidates one’s giving for two years into a single calendar year for tax purposes. 5.6% of those who gave less during the 2022 giving season reported that their bundling strategy caused them to give less. 7.8% of those who gave more during the 2022 giving season cited their bundling strategy as a reason for giving more. Over time, donors who engage in donation bundling plan to give the same amount, and these numbers should end up being a wash.