Eighty-one percent of Americans say they donated money to a religious or other charitable organization in the past year, and 56% volunteered time to such an organization. After dipping in April 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic, charitable donations have rebounded and are essentially back to the level measured in 2013 and 2017 surveys. Volunteer activity also dropped in 2020 but, in contrast to charitable giving, remains lower than it was in pre-pandemic surveys. While lower today than in recent years, the rate of volunteering has been at its current level in the past, most notably during the Great Recession.
Volunteer activity is also lower now among all income groups than before the pandemic.
A recovery in volunteering may be more elusive as concerns about COVID-19 exposure and public health safety measures limit Americans' willingness and ability to perform volunteer work. While there was hope earlier in 2021 that COVID-19 vaccines would allow Americans to return to their normal activities, the unpredictable nature of the virus and emergence of new variants has forced leaders and citizens to reconsider when -- or if -- the pandemic will end.