As we say goodbye to 2023 and look forward to the new year, what nonprofit fundraising trends will be impacting the philanthropic landscape?
Here’s our take on key nonprofit fundraising trends that will impact nonprofits across the board. In 2024, we’ll need to be sensitive to our donors, our staff teams, and the overall environment, if we want to thrive.
1. Major Gift Fundraising Continues – and is increasing – as a productive and valuable segment of fundraising.
We continue to see large gifts and mega gifts as a driver of philanthropic giving in the US and Canada.
Considering giving from individuals, major gifts ($5,000 to $49,999) accounted for 26% total dollars given in 2022 and mega gifts ($50,000+) for 47.5% of total dollars given in 2022.
Your takeaway: Investing in the relationships with major donors – and prospective major donors will be key in 2024.
Whether they are current major donors, or donors within your pool of current lower-gift and lapsed donors – this group will offer your organization greater financial success in 2024. (from GPG Academy Director, Beth Ann Locke)
2. Unstable Giving Environment.
Donors’ perception of the overall economy impacts the amounts they give. Inflation, world events and economic predictions are all over the place.
Because of perceived instability, many donors say they are holding back until they feel things are more certain and secure.
Your Takeaway: If you have a loyal donor who is skittish, keep them close.
Don’t forget about them just because they are backing away temporarily. These donors might step forward with large gifts when they feel the time is right.
3. Multiple Generations of Donors Require Different Strategies.
Donors of different generations require different outreach and communication formats.
Gen Z donors are digital natives; you reach them on social media. Don’t try the phone!
On the other hand, Silent Generation and Boomer donors are more likely to read snail mail and emails. But don’t text them!
Your Takeaway: Ask your donors which communication format they prefer. And be ready to shift your approach.
4. Declining Trust in Nonprofits.
Trust is a key issue for donors when they decide to support a charity. If the donor is wary and not sure of how well their money is going to be used, then you are likely to get a much smaller gift.
We’ve been watching the decline of overall trust in NGO’s over the past 10-15 years, as reported by the fascinating Edelman Trust Barometer, and it gives us pause.
Your Takeaway: Build trust among your donors and stakeholders by communicating honestly and frequently. Use the personal pronouns “I” and “we” to show up as a real person.
And, being more transparent about your financial situation and outlook will build trust quickly.
5. Nonprofit Workers are Exhausted and Burned Out.
Everywhere, we are seeing people leaving fundraising careers. Three out of four nonprofits reported job vacancies this year.
Those who remain at their jobs are being asked to do more and cover for their missing colleagues.
Low salaries, stress and burnout are cited as the major reasons for low employee retention. This situation is leaving many fundraising shops shorthanded, even while the pressure to raise money grows.
Your Takeaway: Treat your staff well. They are your important human resources. Don’t try to carry out your mission on the backs of your home team – your employees!
6. AI is Reaching Into Charity and Fundraising Offices.
AI is everywhere in many nonprofits.
It’s automating routine correspondence, producing drafts of proposals and letters, helping identify your most likely major donors, generating data on your nonprofit’s impact and results and much more.
Your Takeaway: If you and your team are not using AI, then be prepared to be left behind.
7. Donor Relationships will Trump Transactional Fundraising Every Time.
Authentic, true relationships with our donors continue to be the single most effective approach to working with our constituents.
Transactional fundraising, like that of Giving Tuesday, will continue to suffer as our donors scrutinize our organizations more carefully.
Your Takeaway: Building meaningful relationships is key. This takes time. This takes patience. This takes understanding minds, hearts, and values.
8. The Post-Pandemic Landscape Created Lasting Change.
Remember back in 2020, when we all had to learn Zoom overnight? Now, Zoom is part of everyday life – like it or not.
Donors have shifted into a more virtual environment as well. They often prefer to stay in their slippers and cozy chairs and have a visit over Zoom.
Overall, we are finding that donors are less willing to meet and/or engage. The pandemic didn’t, in fact, impact people’s habits and choices.
Your Takeaway: Virtual is here to stay. You’ll have to work harder to create appealing donor engagement opportunities that will get donors out of their homes!
BOTTOM LINE: Nonprofit Fundraising Trends for 2024
The fundraising world is changing. Don’t be left behind. It’s time to invest in new strategies and skill sets.
What about you? What are you focusing on for 2024? Let us know!