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4 Current Events That Got Donors’ Attention in 2022


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Published December 14, 2022 Reading Time: 6 minutes

Current events call donors to action. And nonprofits can harness this to attract donations from more individuals by understanding how timely need influences the donor psyche.

Today, we’ll recap the four events that caught donors’ attention in 2022. We’ll also dig into the learnings from the causes that sparked donors’ passion for timely giving to help you prepare for the year ahead.

Top 4 Current Events That Caught Donors’ Attention in 2022

Why Timely Giving Taps Into Donor Motivations

Over a quarter of donors expect to donate more in 2022 than they did in 2021. Of those donating more, the top motivations are a recent increase in:

  • Donor passion
  • Donation need
  • Cause relevance

All this helps us understand why timely events and current challenges in the news move donors to get involved. That’s especially true as we see the newest donors show a particular interest in charity. Here’s how 2022 events shaped giving and continue to impact donors looking to make a significant impact.

See How Each Generation Plans to Give

4 Current Events That Got Donors’ Attention in 2022

1. International Human Rights Crises


In February, Russia deployed its military into Ukraine and established the start of a lengthy conflict. The events influenced a global humanitarian crisis, with many Americans stepping up to help.

As of March, we identified 16 organizations that responded to the crisis, collectively raising over $105 million on the Classy platform, which was only the beginning. One of those organizations is World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that believes food is a universal human right. The organization has been working across Ukraine in 2022 to serve over one million meals daily to those in need.

International human rights crises are the top cause that loyal donors gave monetary support to in 2022 as of September, ahead of the giving season. Our Why America Gives report also shows that it’s one of the top four causes that donors who didn’t donate yet will contribute to before 2022 ends.

Download Why America Gives

2. Climate Change



Climate change isn’t new in 2022. However, it’s gaining importance and focus as we learn more about ways to make a difference in the environment.

The more education people have about the impact of climate change and ongoing legislation shifts, the more they prioritize ways to impact the future. In fact, the Pew Research Center found that in 2022, “42% of US adults say dealing with climate change should be a top priority for [the] President and Congress to address.”

One of our 2022 Classy Award winners, Trees for the Future (TREES), is one of the many organizations doing incredible work to combat climate change through sustainable land use. Its focus on building vibrant economies, thriving food systems, and a healthier planet consistently attracts new attention from passionate donors.

Learn More About Trees for the Future

Climate change is the cause that most donors plan to donate to by the end of 2022. It’s also the top event that Gen Z donors plan to donate to, with over half sharing their expectations to make a monetary contribution.

3. Reproductive Rights and Women’s Health


The overturn of Roe v. Wade brought gender equality and women’s rights to the forefront this year. One example of how these conversations increase among younger generations is the Washington Post analysis of over 1,000 viral TikTok videos using the #abortion hashtag.

Exhale Pro-Voice is one organization focused on women’s reproductive rights and support for their well-being. The nonprofit provides nonjudgmental, supportive, peer-pro-voice counseling around topics including abortion.

We can expect to see the momentum around reproductive rights and women’s health continue into the giving season and new year. In fact, Why America Gives shows it’s the second cause loyal donors plan to donate to by the end of 2022 and the top cause passive donors will act on by the end of 2022.

4. Disability Rights


Amplifying the voice of underrepresented groups continues to be a reason for people to take action. And people are ready to create change as diversity and inclusion continue to be a priority.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2022 numbers, 61 million adults in the US are living with a disability. That number equates to one in four citizens. As with other current events that caught donors’ attention this year, the more conversations around disability rights, the more people look to play their part, especially younger generations.

Gen Z donors are at least 2x as likely to have donated to disability rights in 2022 than other generations. Additionally, as we look to the end of the year, Millennials are the most likely to donate again to disability rights before 2022 comes to a close. Our report also saw that 31% of both generations have plans to contribute to disability rights in 2023.

The Power of Current Events to Activate Gen Z Donors

As noted in the current events above, Gen Z, who leans more heavily on social media and influencers, is often more motivated to give to a current event compared to other generations.

Not to mention, younger generations like Gen Z engage with channels differently than other generations. Coupled with the spread of news about a crisis in seconds worldwide thanks to social media, this means that causes that matter to Gen Z tend to get more exposure.

This increased exposure to screens represents more opportunities to get in front of Gen Z and tap into their passion for supporting those in need. However, they also live out their values of charity differently than older generations.

In fact, Gen Z is most likely to say that they donate because they feel it’s just the right thing to do. And if offered a job in an organization with a mission they care about, 30% of Gen Z members would agree to a 10-20% pay cut.

Below, we’ll wrap up ways to capture this timely interest and target new generations.

How to Prepare to Capture Timely Donations

Keep Your Site Up to Date

Why America Gives 2022 found that a nonprofit’s website is the top place Gen Z donors go to do research before deciding whether to donate. It also found that 69% of Gen Z and Millennial donors prefer to hear from organizations on social media.

After a timely event or crisis, include language about your nonprofit’s efforts to address the event or crisis on every channel you talk to donors. You can place imagery or a short text blurb in a place that greets any page visitor to your website, indicating their contributions are going to a timely need.

Next, you can continue the experience through your donation page with consistent language and branding specific to the current event you’re supporting.

Lastly, you can also consider a pop-up modal that brings your donation form to your homepage to capture attention quickly and convert a researching visitor to a donor. Embedded giving experiences like this have resulted in a 56% year-over-year donation volume increase for the Many Hopes organization.

Make It Easy to Donate

Whether through your website or social media, donors who find your organization while looking to take action after a timely event need a simple way to do so. That’s where your donation page comes into play.

Think about ways to keep donors moving through your process:

  • Quick payment: The more you can collect donations through mobile apps, digital wallets, and bank transfers, the more likely you can get donors to donate. In fact, Gen Z is most likely to prefer PayPal or Venmo compared to all other payment types.
  • Completion steps: Think about every form field you require donors to fill out before completing a donation. If you reduce that down only to what’s necessary, you can cut the length of the process and get to conversion faster.
  • Giving options: When you offer donors a simple way to select a donation amount that works for them, you help them feel confident about the transaction based on their current budget. Let people know small contributions are still encouraged by placing suggested amounts on your page to keep people from leaving if they feel they can’t make a big enough impact.

Keep Passionate Supporters Coming Back

As we look ahead to the new year, donor retention is a top priority. A straightforward way to give donors offering timely support an opportunity to come back is to provide a recurring gift option on your donation page or donation pop-up modal.

In fact, Why America Gives found that loyal donors with proven records of repeat donations are twice as likely to keep their donations the same even if they’re experiencing a financial stressor compared to passive donors. Gen Z and Millennial donors, in particular, are also more likely to account for charitable donations in their financial planning than other generations.

By capturing loyalty through a recurring donation to a cause a donor is already passionate about, you can lay the foundation for the start of long-term relationships.

Download a Free Donor Retention Checklist

Stay Ahead of Today’s Donor Behavior Trends

Each year, Classy evaluates the psyche and expectations of today’s US donors. Our goal is to help nonprofits like yours understand what drives donations and how to build lasting relationships with donors based on their sentiments around giving in the current landscape. Discover what we found this year in our latest release.


Explore the Free Report

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