This post comes from the Gravyty Fundraising Academy, a new series that examines how fundraisers adapt and strategize to evolve what's possible through philanthropy.
Your guide for the Gravyty Fundraising Academy is Director of Customer Success, Lisa Alvezi. Lisa has worked with countless fundraisers across Higher Education, Health Care, and Nonprofit organizations to transform fundraising. As a former frontline fundraiser herself, her goal is to help you see better results from your fundraising efforts.
In the past few weeks, fundraisers have seen the data stack up -- from industry-standard giving reports to pulse data, and the usual economic indicators, there is a lot for us to take in. What we’re all seeking is for this data to give us a clear picture of the path forward -- unfortunately, no single report is equipped to get us there.
For example, the recent Giving USA report tells us that giving rose 2.4 percent to $449.6 billion in 2019, falling just shy of the 2017 record of $451 billion. While the activity appears strong, this data also highlights that the overall percentage of those who give fell below the annual 2.8 percent growth mark for the first time since 1979.
These are great insights to have, but what do they mean for how fundraisers should respond on the front lines, and -- considering how much the world has changed since December, is 2019 data helpful to us right now?
Interpreting Industry Data – What Should I Consider?
If we bring together the many pieces of the puzzle, there is still ample opportunity for giving -- especially individual giving. At the same time, the market was already changing at the end of 2019. It seems that COVID-19 is the catalyst of acceleration, rather than a single issue for the industry. It’s clear that nonprofit organizations need to adjust fundraising strategies not on what happened last year, but what’s to come to the philanthropic sector for years to come. So the question becomes: how do we adapt and make meaningful contributions today?
Solutions For Today’s Problems
The current economic struggles tell us that our typical major donors may consider shortening the list of organizations they give to and have trouble honoring pledges. When these gaps in revenue from donations arise (if they haven’t yet), simply asking other major donors to make up for the difference is no longer a feasible strategy. The organizations that find ways to win in today’s economy will be those who can uplevel new donors into major donor portfolios and inspire giving at scale from those deeper in the giving pyramid.
While today’s data tells us that there are a lot of problems, conversations should not end there. After all, this is 2020 and we have solutions that simply did not exist just a year or two ago. There are ways to come out of these economic times as winners -- and it’s not by embracing the status quo.
If you’d like to learn more about how artificial intelligence can empower your fundraising staff to act as 2-3x its size, personally reach new donors, and inspire giving at scale, click the button below and let's connect.