In this series, we take a look at the current news impacting the nonprofit sector, specifically fundraising. Our intention is not to be reactive, but to be proactive in our analysis of the news and consider how fundraising and philanthropic efforts can improve outcomes and adapt to meet the times.
This week: Women Are More Likely to Donate to Charities Than Men of Equal Means, Expect College Wait Lists to Be Obnoxiously Long This Year, How Nonprofits Are Helping Workers Cope With Pandemic Fatigue, Why You Need to Reimagine Your Nonprofit During the COVID-19 Crisis, and Report On COVID-Related Philanthropy Credits MacKenzie Scott With Powering 25% of U.S. Giving.
As scholars of how women give and global philanthropy, we've learned that women overall are more likely to give, and give more, than men, and these differences can be seen in a variety of ways. Gender differences in giving are especially notable among single women and single men. Holding factors like income and wealth constant, about 51% of single women indicated they would give to charity, compared with 41% of single men. Women are also more likely than men to give to charity as their income rises.
Analysis: While these findings aren't shocking, it is a nice reminder that your "ideal donor" may not fit the same description they have in years past. Wealth is transferring generations, and with that, how charitable dollars are being spent.
Expect College Wait Lists to Be Obnoxiously Long This Year (Via Wall Street Journal)
Many college admissions officers are stumped this spring over how many applicants to admit. Their mathematical models to predict which admitted students might accept their offers and enroll as freshmen are proving useless because the coronavirus pandemic threw most traditional elements of the admissions process—campus visits, standardized tests, essays about busy extracurricular schedules—into disarray.
Analysis: In the early stages of the pandemic, most projections saw college enrollment numbers dropping. However as we gain clarity into how higher ed will recover, it is encouraging to see the number of students still with applying and going to college rising. There is still much to be seen, but this trend seems to be here to stay.
How Nonprofits Are Helping Workers Cope With Pandemic Fatigue (Via Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Over the past year, charities have responded to the historic crisis, reinventing themselves overnight and providing desperately needed services. But the people in those organizations — leaders and staff alike — have struggled to keep up, to balance their passion with the stress, trauma, and exhaustion brought on by the changes the pandemic has wrought. And many are steeling themselves for even more work ahead as they administer vaccines and shift to meet ever-growing demand with new in-person and hybrid programming.
Analysis: Nonprofit staff on the front lines of the pandemic - those working in hospitals or food banks - were under obvious strain during the pandemic. But other parts of the nonprofit sector saw significant strain that impacted employees in ways that were not as obvious as being on the front lines. Now going on one year into the pandemic, many of those struggles still remain.
Why You Need to Reimagine Your Nonprofit During the COVID-19 Crisis (Via Student Assembly)
The pandemic tested the resilience of nonprofit organizations and the generosity of their supporters. With more people to help but the amount of resources available becomes limited, it can be tricky to carry out your mission. Your priority during these difficult times could be raising enough money. But if cash reserves continue to dwindle, then it only means there is so much work to do within your organization. Sometimes, the best thing for a nonprofit to work out is to reimagine your organization.
Analysis: It feels cliché to say "necessity is the mother of invention", but while budget cuts, furloughs, and layoffs ravaged the nonprofit sector, organizations were forced to reinvent and innovate. Those that fail to do so will struggle to recover at the same rate as their peers who were not afraid to take risks and make decisions that allowed them to rise to the occasion.
A new report looking at the global philanthropic response to COVID-19 during 2020 credits MacKenzie Scott with singlehandedly powering 25% of the giving effort in the United States. The report by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Candid looked at the sources of more than $20 billion awarded for pandemic-related causes, including corporations, foundations, public charities and high-net-worth individuals such as Scott.
Analysis: While Ms. Scott's incredible generosity is admirable, one fact that that cannot be overlooked is how just one donor could claim this much real estate in the giving world. Over-reliance on one donor can ultimately lead to problems regarding the sustainability of a giving program. While one donor can certainly make a huge difference, that should not be a reason to neglect your other donors that may have just as much, if not more, affinity for your cause, just without the capacity to give at the same high level.
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