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Companies give more than ever to charity during first COVID year

16 June 2022
The Netherlands gave 5.6 billion euros to charity in 2020, the first year of COVID-19. This is evident from the study Giving in the Netherlands (Geven in Nederland) by VU Amsterdam. Especially companies started to give more to charity: they gave 2.2 billion euros. In 2018, this was still 1.9 billion euros.

In addition, households gave 2.1 billion euros, 300 million less than in 2018. Charities also received more donations from equity funds and inheritances.

The increase in contributions by companies is notable because 45% of companies in the Netherlands had a lower turnover, temporarily shut down or had to lay off staff. The companies affected by the covid crisis have not become less active in donations and sponsorship. Companies have focused more on charities related to health. They gave € 395 million to health-related causes, as well as € 387 million to sports, which has been the main target for corporate sponsorship and donations for years.

Household donations are a lot lower in 2020 than before. This is mainly because households have started to support a smaller number of charities. This decline had already been visible since 2011 but was accelerated by the covid rules. Charitable organisations were able to hold fewer fundraising events due to the restrictions. Among households giving to charities, the total amount of donations has remained roughly the same since 2018. The percentage of households that gave to charities online has barely changed.

Due to the covid measures, volunteering in the Netherlands also decreased: 44% of the population volunteered in 2020. This was previously 49%. The nature of volunteering also changed during the pandemic. There were more online volunteers, but the increase in online volunteering was smaller than the decrease in on-site volunteering. In particular, the number of volunteers for sports clubs, schools and in nursing decreased. There were more volunteers in neighbourhood associations.

Giving in the Netherlands is a research project of the Centre for Philanthropic Studies of VU Amsterdam. Since 1995, the research maps the giving behaviour of households, individuals, funds, companies and charity lotteries every two years.