3 Macro Issues Could Impact Your Fundraising in 2020
I’m looking at my 100th Giving Tuesday email. A stack of annual appeal letters sits on my desk. We’re squeezing-in a month’s worth of work into 2 weeks because of Christmas and New Year. Donors are experiencing the same. How can anyone truly think of the year ahead?
Think again. We’re witnessing 3 phenomena that will likely impact fundraising in the pivotal year ahead.
Perception that the Economic Tide is Turning. We’ve all heard it – “looming recession,” “economic downturn,” “bursting of the bubble.” In reality no one knows yet, as uncertainty drives spending downward. At the same time, the historic economy has created new donors and increased wealth for many current donors.
What to do? Now, more than ever, double-down on donor stewardship.
- It begins with how a donor is acknowledged for their 2019 gift(s). Tell your story.
- Express not only thanks but impact.
- Make sure you have a plan for at least 3 or 4 contacts per donor next year that are not asking for money.
- Read-up on the latest ideas in Moves Management.
Here’s the good news. With the exception of the Great Recession in 2008, charitable giving has dipped far less during other downturns than broader economic indicators. In fact, during the 1982 and 2001 recessions, charitable giving actually went up.
Donors still care and understand that if they are affected, others are hurting too.
2020 Election. This one will be a doozy. Regardless of where someone stands on the political spectrum, we all know that elections – and especially national elections – are decided by turnout. In our polarized atmosphere, millions will be spent on driving people to the polls, and that will be fueled by unprecedented political fundraising. And if the 2018 mid-term elections are any indication, giving will transcend support of local races with contributions being made to district races far from home.
We simply don’t know how this might impact charitable giving in 2020. After all, despite the mid-term elections, 2018 was the biggest year of giving in history according to Giving USA. But there are indicators that giving by “mid-tier” donors was affected.
What to do? First, steer clear of making any appeal a competition with candidates. Like philanthropy, political giving is an expression of values.
- Do let your donors know that while you are mindful of many opportunities out there in support of candidates they like, your clients’ needs remain before and after any election.
Disaster Donor Fatigue. Northern California has been struck by tragic, mind-numbing disasters in each of the last three years, to say nothing of disasters elsewhere in the US and around the world. Giving to post-disaster relief has been historic. There is only anecdotal evidence that donors are fatigued in ways that have suppressed their giving. But the succession of “historic” disasters may be giving way to the notion of the disaster-du-jour and the loss of the central message – urgency.
What to do? As part of stewardship, tell your story.
- One of our clients, for example, sent a communique to their donors about what they did to help struggling, isolated older adults during the 3-day power blackout that was, to everyone else, simply a headache that passed. No relief agency asked them to step-in, they just did it. A great story and donors responded.
We’d love to hear your comments and ideas – send them along and we’ll publish in our next newsletter!
In the meantime, all of us at PRG send warm wishes for a peaceful holiday season and a Happy, Prosperous New Year!