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Donation, volunteerism rates drop amid pandemic but online giving rises: Study

SINGAPORE — Online giving rose during the Covid-19 pandemic despite an overall decline in volunteerism and donation rates, a study has shown.

Donation, volunteerism rates drop amid pandemic but online giving rises: Study

In a recent study, 72 per cent of donors reported no change in their amount donated in 2021, while people who used to donate said that financial constraints was a key reason why they could not do so.

SINGAPORE — Online giving rose during the Covid-19 pandemic despite an overall decline in volunteerism and donation rates, a study has shown.

Online volunteering sign-ups in Singapore saw a 29 per cent increase and online donations rose 37 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels, the Individual Giving Study (IGS) 2021 found. It was done by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre.

Donation and volunteerism rates of people in Singapore came in at 60 per cent and 22 per cent respectively, marking a 19-percentage point drop in Singapore’s donation rate and a 7-percentage point drop in volunteerism rate overall.

Regular volunteerism took a hit largely due to measures implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19, with nearly half of the volunteers said that they have volunteered less since the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) alert was raised to Orange on Feb 7, 2020.

Former donors said that a key barrier for them was financial constraints.

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre polled more than 2,000 people between April 8 and Sept 17 this year for the study, which is in its 10th edition.

It reflected how people in Singapore have shifted to online mediums to support the community and make a difference.

The following are the key findings from the study.

Donation, volunteerism rates

  • In the past 12 months, 60 per cent of people in Singapore donated (it was 79 per cent in 2018) and 22 per cent volunteered (29 per cent in 2018)

  • 48 per cent of volunteers volunteered less since Dorscon Orange was declared on Feb 7, 2020

  • 20 per cent of former volunteers stated that Covid-19 was a barrier to volunteering

  • 72 per cent of donors reported no change in their amount donated in 2021; former donors said that financial constraints was the key barrier

  • There was a 5 per cent increase in occasional volunteering but weekly and monthly volunteering saw a dip

  • There was a 3 per cent increase in weekly donations and a 20 per cent jump in monthly donations, indicating a rise in more committed and consistent donations

Online vs offline giving

  • Offline methods remain the main channel for donations and volunteer sign-ups, with 62 per cent of donations and 56 per cent of sign-ups done through offline means

  • However, online methods saw a significant increase in two areas — online volunteering sign-ups went up by 29 per cent and online donations jumped by 37 per cent compared to figures from the 2018 study

Rise in informal giving

  • Both volunteerism and donations saw an 11 per cent jump in informal giving, which refers to volunteering or donating directly to individuals or community-led initiatives that are not under any registered organisation

  • Seven in eight respondents reported performing micro-acts of giving (voluntary, spontaneous and everyday acts of giving) at least sometimes

  • Singaporeans in general were found to be more open to giving through donations-in-kind, purchase of goods and services from non-profit organisations or social enterprises, and point-of-sale giving

Shifts in preferences, behaviours

  • The social service sector saw an 8 per cent increase in volunteerism despite the decline in giving

  • The education and religious sectors saw the largest decline in volunteerism — with a 17 per cent and 15 per cent drop respectively

Related topics

Charity donation volunteer volunteerism Covid-19

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