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Why America Gives: 2021 Data Reveals the Lasting Impact of a Pandemic on Donor Experience


By Jess Woloszyn

Doctors in blue

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Published November 9, 2021 Reading Time: 2 minutes

American generosity is here to stay, even as the pandemic reduces momentum.

COVID-19 triggered major shifts across all industries that heavily impacted the behavior and preferences of donors. As restrictions lift, many trends behind why people donate remain intact.

We saw over $1 billion in donations come through the Classy platform alone in 2020. Our Why America Gives 2021 report shows that this level of generosity will be matched and likely exceeded by the end of 2021.

Remain Confident in the Face of Fundraising Uncertainty

Nonprofits that stay on the pulse of what’s ahead are in the best position to unlock the generosity of donors who are not only planning to give more this giving season but actively budgeting it into their annual finances.


Our fourth annual Why America Gives report is carefully curated to help you decipher between donors’ temporary reactions to the pandemic and preferences that will last.

We’ve pulled together data on what it means to have a flexible and personalized donation experience. After reading, you’ll have a better understanding of today’s donors and the true value of fundraising technology in setting your organization apart.

With every page, you’ll gain actionable insights that support fundraising strategies built to prepare you for the uncertainties that lie ahead.

This year’s Why America Gives report unveils how these sentiments have shifted, how the pandemic influenced donors’ interests and desire to help, and how a nonprofit can confidently craft an experience that makes it incredibly easy to give again and again

Soraya Alexander

Chief Operating Officer

Hear the Voices of Today’s Donors

Each year ahead of Giving Tuesday, Classy looks at supporter behavior and how current giving intentions drive donations. This year, we’re defining the true meaning of “donor experience” by taking a closer look at donor expectations and motivations heading into the year-end season, but also well beyond it.

Learn directly from 1,000 U.S. donors which fundraising actions they value to create an experience that builds trust, increases donor retention, and fosters meaningful connections that last.

Key Findings

Why People Donate and the Lasting Impact of a Pandemic:

  • American generosity is not going anywhere. We saw that 84 percent of donors intend to donate the same amount or more than they did in 2020.
  • Donor behavior is molded by virtual norms.  58 percent of donors complete donations through their mobile devices, and 55 percent prefer payment options like PayPal or Venmo.
  • Generational giving trends differ, but everyone wants options. We see Generation Z finding causes through social media, Millennials adopting new payment types, and Boomers+ making recurring gifts to support the causes they care about.

And that’s only scratching the surface. Download your free copy to save, share, and apply as you craft your unique donor experience.

Doctors in blue

Why America Gives 2021

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