News & Updates


Wise Giving Wednesday: First Estimate of 2020 Giving

Feb 17, 2021

One year ago, on 2/12/2020, Wise Giving Wednesday first mentioned contributing to charities addressing coronavirus. Although, at that time, the focus was on helping people in China, charities in the U.S. were soon impacted in terms of their operations and then in their fundraising. While many organizations sought to adapt to the circumstances, some groups suffered financially. On April 7. 2020, BBB Wise Giving Alliance issued a Special Donor Trust Report: COVID-19 and the Charitable Sector which confirmed that most charities were concerned about maintaining a financially stable organization.

As a result, there has been great interest in identifying the end of year total giving figures for 2020. As reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday, Blackbaud Institute released its 2020 Charitable Giving Report which provides one of the first estimates of giving totals from the previous year. Based on their tracking of $40 billion dollars raised by 8,800 groups, they estimate that overall giving rose 2 percent. That does not mean, however, that all charities did well. While the study announced charities that raise over $10 million saw a 5.3 percent increase, smaller organizations raising less than $1 million saw a 7.2 percent drop. In turn, some categories of charities experienced more financial hardship than others particularly arts & culture charities and medical research organizations.

In view of the fact that most in-person fundraising events by charities were either cancelled or not held in 2020, it is not surprising that online giving experienced a 21 percent growth and represents 13 percent of total fundraising in 2020. Blackbaud reported that online giving also grew in size, gift amounts and retention rates. Interestingly, faith-based organizations reported the largest percentage of fundraising from online giving – almost 18 percent. As the pandemic continues in 2021, it is likely that the transition to more online giving will grow further.

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Lieutenant General Robert Ruark USMC (Ret.), CEO of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (a BBB Accredited Charity), an organization that assists the families of United States Marine Corps and of United States Navy Corpsmen by providing their children with scholarships to attend colleges, universities and vocational and technical institutions.

Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance