By Drew Fox Jordan • October 30, 2019

Fundraising in 2019: Fewer Donors. Increased Competition. Fundraiser Fatigue. Where's The Opportunity?

According to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018, American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave an estimated $427.71 billion to U.S. charities in 2018, up 0.7% from 2017. So why should that be cause for concern?

Giving in 2018

Overall giving has leveled off. Giving USA's 2019 report outlines that when accounting for inflation, total giving actually declined by 1.7% in 2018. Nonprofits are feeling these economics in the form of shifting tax rates and inflation volatility. If philanthropic giving is plateauing, how are nonprofit organizations to make up for this gap? It's no longer about a need to "do more," it's become a need to change the way in which fundraising operates.

Giving by individuals is down. One important shift in 2018 is the drop in the number of individuals and households who itemize deductions on their tax returns. This shift came in response to the federal tax policy change that doubled the standard deduction. More than 45 million households itemized deductions in 2016. That number is estimated to have dropped to approximately 16 to 20 million households in 2018, reducing an incentive for charitable giving.


This is a clear indication that those in fundraising have known for some time: as many fundraisers focus on fewer donors, there's increased competition for dollars. Nonprofit organizations need to consider how they can expand personalized outreach to more potential donors with the ability to give as they also manage assigned donor portfolios.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) empowers nonprofit organizations with strategies to adapt with today's economy.

Nonprofits can either adapt to these trends, or suffer the fate of becoming damagingly underfunded. A simple solution presents itself for this problem: fundraisers need to manage their existing portfolios and grow their donor pipeline at the same time. Unfortunately, that solution once again presents another problem. Fundraiser fatigue and capacity to manage donors comes into to play

Of course, this is a problem that all nonprofits, regardless of giving numbers, must face. How does an organization grow its donor pipeline while maintaining relationships with existing donors? More and more nonprofits are finding the solution in artificial intelligence (AI).


AI offers something that nonprofit organizations have not had in the past: the ability to expand the fundraising workforce without making any additional hires and scale the capacity for teams to build and maintain personalized relationships with current donors and new prospects.


For example, with Gravyty's fundraiser enablement tools, powered by AI, The College of Charleston adopted AI and expanded its workforce by 2.6x in less than three months. Over the course of a fiscal year, CofC used that expanded workforce to manage larger portfolios, qualify more prospects, increase meetings, steward more donors, and inspire more than 400 additional gifts, totaling $880,000+ in giving.

Are these trends that concern you and your organization? Let's talk. Connect with the Gravyty team to learn more about fundraiser enablement, powered by AI, and how new technology enables strategy that solves some of the industry's fundamental problems.


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