An individual is holding coins and a piece of paper that reads 'Make a change.'

Fundraising is at the heart of almost every nonprofit’s fiscal plan. It’s a good year for charitable giving. Donations have increased 5.2 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to Giving USA, the longest-running report of charitable giving in the United States. And as of April 2018, charitable giving is up 4.7 percent compared to 2017, Blackbaud Index estimates.

Who’s giving this money? Winspire illustrates estimated donations by type of group. Individuals are expected to comprise 70 percent of total giving in 2018, followed by foundations at 16 percent, estates at 9 percent, and corporate donations at 5 percent. Each group’s contributions are expected to increase at least 3 percent in 2018 compared to last year.

Fundraising giving trends

Given these statistics, it’s clear that the U.S. economy is strong, and philanthropy is, too, much to the delight of the nonprofit sector. Some new fundraising trends are emerging, and nonprofit leaders would do well to take notice.

  • Donor-advised funds (DAF). DAFs are funds where donors can make charitable contributions, receive an immediate tax benefit, and then recommend grants from the fund. DAFs have been rapidly growing in recent years. Contributions to donor-advised funds in 2016 totaled $23.27 billion, an all-time high, and an increase of 7.6 percent from 2015, according to the 2017 Donor-Advised Fund Report.
  • Diverse giving. Different generations give differently, and it’s important to understand such preferences when it comes to the state of donations in your organization. For example, the Millennial generation is known to be socially conscious and technologically savvy. They are more likely to give to organizations that present a strong brand and offer simple donation platforms such as app-based contribution options.
  • Transparent giving. The 2018 consumer demands transparency. In a world where data privacy has been compromised time and again, individual donors want to feel confident in their charitable giving choices. Nonprofit agencies must be able to accurately report spending to all stakeholders and show how their funding dollars are contributing to the mission.

A common theme unites these trends: Today, more than ever, the donor is in control. As a nonprofit leader, are you holding your organization accountable to deliver donors’ expectations? Stakeholder loyalty and customer retention depend on it.

The pay-off of a systems approach

Brighter Strategies understands how important it is to improve the operational efficiency of your organization so that you are delivering on your promises to donors. We use a core People, Planning, Process, and Performance philosophy to help you achieve these results.

  • People. Donors are one of your most important stakeholder groups. How can you improve your relationships with existing funders while expanding your donor base?
  • Planning. To achieve strong results with the funds you are given, you need a detailed plan of action. Do you have a strategy in place that defines how you use your financial resources, and metrics that measure whether you are achieving your goals?
  • Process. Efficient organizational processes ensure that external forces will not derail your plans. Is there a measurement and evaluation mechanism in place in your organization to validate that inputs – including financial resources – are being used effectively?
  • Performance. With strong people, planning, and processes, performance will follow. Can donors trust you to communicate performance results accurately and consistently?

The state of fundraising is good, and the future is better. Brighter Strategies is here to help you tighten and integrate your organizational approach so that you’re ready for increased funding. Contact us today to learn more.