The pandemic’s impact on giving in Italy has been revealed in the sixth annual Italy Giving (Italiani Solidali) report, with 2020 seeing average donation values rise but many charities missing out as donors focused on supporting Covid-related causes, and fewer gave overall.
The study, carried out by market research company Doxa, shows that the number of people who made at least one donation dropped from 45% to 36% overall last year, with those giving to charities falling from 26% to 21% and those giving donations informally, such as to people’s crowdfunding campaigns, from 41% to 33%. However, the average donation size rose from €66 to €80 for those who donated to NGOs, and from €29 to €36 for informal donations.
Overall, an estimated 13-15 million Italians donated between March and April last year. The greatest proportion of donations went to public organisations such as hospitals, with 22% going to NGOs. Over one quarter (27%) went to the country’s civil protection department (the national department in charge of emergencies), almost one fifth (19%) each to hospitals and crowdfunding initiatives, while 13% went to initiatives directly supporting doctors and nurses.
Commenting on the findings, Gaia Relucenti, member of ASSIF’s working group on research, said:
“The majority of donations were given to help purchase masks and emergency equipment, as was widely requested during the very first months of the pandemic, with a boom in collections on crowdfunding platforms by personal fundraisers as people sought to help others directly, rather than through an NGO. Due to this new way of giving and despite an increase in donation value, many non-profit organisations have seen a drastic drop in their income and have had to review their processes to adapt to the emergency in progress.”
Some NGOs have suffered more than others, with the most significant decrease in donations seen among those supporting environmental protection and animals, as well as less recent emergencies.
In total, 2020 saw €785.55 million donated in cash, goods or services for the coronavirus emergency, mapped by Italia Non Profit. €130 million came from foundations between March and August, while crowdfunding donations reached around €25 million euros. €17 million was donated through GoFundMe, with the top five campaigns raising €8.5 million overall.
The Italy Giving Report also includes data provided by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance on donations deducted in tax returns in the 2019/20 tax year. This reveals that the total amount raised by this particular means rose to €5.5 billion, up 3.9% on the previous year, and was in part influenced by 2019’s introduction of new tax breaks on higher donations.
In addition, Italy’s Art Bonus tax credit brought in an additional €500 million euros thanks to donations from 18,393 patrons (11,143 individuals, 2,487 foundations and other non-commercial entities and 4,763 companies).