During the first part of this pandemic, when many were getting by on less, Americans came together to support one another with unprecedented acts of generosity and solidarity, including increasing donations to nonprofit organizations. Giving in 2020 increased by an estimated 5.2 percent, compared to 2019, and we expect the trend to continue when the final tally comes in for 2021. This is especially good news, as it reverses a decades-long decline in giving by ‘everyday’ donors, where less than half of U.S. households donated to charity in 2018—down from two-thirds in 2000.

While much of 2020’s increase came from larger-scale gifts from wealthier donors, small to medium-size donors increased their giving during the pandemic, as well. In particular, individuals who participated in collective giving —joining together in coordinated philanthropy action—saw a particular increase during the pandemic. Through giving circles—groups of people who pool donations and decide together where to allocate their money—and collective giving moments like Giving Tuesday, communal giving is growing in strength and popularity, particularly in the wake of COVID-19. This is good news for the diversity and democracy of American charitable giving and the wide array of causes and nonprofits that everyday givers support.

Shared giving moments not only drove huge spikes in giving during the pandemic, but also proved to be an important way for people to connect with others in a time of isolation and uncertainty. This rise in collective giving is especially important because the collective giving movement attracts a more diverse donor population. By race, by gender and by economic position in society, individuals from all walks of life are able to come together to learn about, grow and contribute to causes they hold dear.

Read the full article about collective giving by Sara Lomelin and Asha Curran at Ms. Magazine.