(Note: this post is for fundraisers who are focused on Individual Fundraising, although some of the suggestions can apply to foundation fundraising.)
Are you a nonprofit fundraiser feeling the squeeze from fewer donors and more competition for donations? You're not alone. According to new data from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, charitable giving was up 4.7% in the first three quarters of 2022, but the number of individual donors contributing was down 7.1% compared to 2021. And while this report is only focused on the U.S. market, similar trends are seen in Europe as well.
This trend of nonprofits receiving more money from fewer donors is concerning, but there are steps you can take to ensure the sustainability of your organization's fundraising efforts. Here are some tips to help you navigate the current fundraising climate:
Diversify your donor base: Organizations with a broad support base that includes smaller donors are more resilient during economic downturns. Relying on big donors to provide most of the gifts could be problematic, especially with worries that a recession is looming. By diversifying your donor base, you'll be better equipped to weather potential financial storms.
Prioritize new donor acquisition and retention: The report found that new donors were down by 19.2%, and newly retained donors (those who gave for the first time in 2021 and gave again in 2022) were down by 24.7%. Repeat retained donors (those who had given in 2021 and 2022 but not for the first time) were down by only 2%. This tells us that it's crucial to put effort into acquiring new donors and retaining the ones you already have.
Engage with grassroots givers: Re-engage with donors frequently and invite grassroots givers to support your organization. This is not necessarily instead of large donor stewardship but as well as that. By engaging with a diverse group of donors, you'll build a stronger foundation for future support.
Focus on authenticity, compelling, and transparency in fundraising: As long as that fundraising is authentic, compelling, and transparent there should be no shame in asking for money to do good. By being transparent about how the donations will be used and the impact they will have, donors will be more likely to give.
Keep fundraising during difficult times: Nonprofits must continue to fundraise and acquire new donors to be able to sustain. History has shown that pulling back on fundraising during difficult times can be a costly mistake.
Monitor Giving Tuesday performance: GivingTuesday can serve as a barometer for what year-end will look like, and an increase in both dollars and donors on GivingTuesday could be an encouraging sign for year-end fundraising.
It's important to remember that these are just suggestions and that every organization is different. The most important thing is to be aware of the current fundraising climate and make adjustments accordingly.
To learn more about current fundraising trends and strategies, check out the Fundraising Effectiveness Project's website (https://www.fundraisingeffectivenessproject.org/) which provides a wealth of data and resources to help nonprofit fundraisers make informed decisions. And also check out these articles on nonprofit fundraising strategies (https://www.npengage.com/fundraising/strategies/) and donor retention (https://www.nonprofitpro.com/post/the-importance-of-donor-retention/) for additional tips and best practices.
In conclusion, the current fundraising climate may be challenging, but by diversifying your donor base, prioritizing new donor acquisition and retention, engaging with grassroots givers, focusing on authenticity, compelling, and transparency in fundraising, keeping fundraising during difficult times and monitoring Giving Tuesday performance, you can increase the sustainability of your organization's fundraising efforts.