DickersonBakker Blog

Concerned about the election’s impact on giving? Here’s what you need to know.

Are you concerned about how next year’s election is going to impact giving? You’re not alone. This is one of the most common concerns we hear from nonprofit leaders today. You can stop worrying, however. History tells a different story.

Groups like GivingUSA and Charity Navigator have been tracking giving statistics for over forty years, including ten presidential election years. Giving increased in 9 out of 10 of those election years. The one exception – 2008 – was a clear outlier, given that we were experiencing the most severe economic recession since the Great Depression at the time.  

Multiple studies have been conducted on the impact of elections on giving. The fact is, there is ZERO statistical evidence that elections have any negative bearing on giving. To the contrary, historical evidence suggests that elections actually correlate with an uptick in giving. 

Elections are expensive. According to the Federal Election Commission, Americans collectively contributed approximately $5 billion to political candidates in the last election cycle. That’s a big number, but still only a small slice of the nearly $400 billion given to charity. Even so, people generally only have a certain amount of money to give away, so you would think that $5 billion would at least put a small dent in charitable giving. What’s interesting is that the opposite occurs. Studies show that people who give to political campaigns donate more to nonprofits during an election year as well, and that their extra giving is not limited to political causes. 

Most of the things people worry about never come to pass. As a leader, you have no shortage of real potential challenges to be concerned about. If history is any guide, the election’s impact on giving need not be one of them. 

Have other nonprofit concerns you’d like to discuss as we get ready for 2020? Let’s talk! Just contact us here to set up a time >>

Back to blog