As fundraising consultants, we’re always keeping an eye on the latest nonprofit fundraising trends and developments. As we move into 2023, there are several key trends that can help your organization ride the waves of success and fundraising growth in the coming year.
First of all, let’s celebrate that 2022 was a strong year for charitable giving. We were successful, even with the instability caused by changing world events, pandemics, inflation, elections, financial markets, and unrest.
When we step back and take stock, it’s extremely heartening to see the generosity and commitment to a better world that we see among our donors.
And many things keep changing. These nonprofit fundraising trends include our top predictions for the year ahead and tips to help your team rise to the occasion.
Internal Culture at Nonprofit Organizations
1. Nonprofit working conditions are improving.
Organizations are slowly realizing that the old-fashioned nonprofit culture of low pay and long hours is driving employee burnout and turnover. Low morale = low productivity.
Tip: Realize that your team’s work environment can either help – or hurt – fundraising productivity. To keep employee morale high, follow the recommendations in “The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit” by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman.
2. The Great Resignation happened.
Unreasonable workloads, unrealistic performance expectations, and lack of respect drove many fundraisers to resign and seek new job situations. The resulting short-staffed offices put even more pressure on the remaining staffers.
Tip: To prevent turnover, you’ll need to pay staffers what they are worth, and create a positive environment where they feel appreciated and valued.
3. Many organizations are struggling with diversity and inclusion issues.
As nonprofits look within. they are uncovering gender, race and class issues among their donors, their boards, staff, and internal culture. Many are working towards solutions. However, some of this may be just window-dressing and all talk. The effective models go deeper into people’s behaviors and attitudes.
Tip: Set your organization on a path that recognizes the transformative potential of diversity at all levels. Recognize that there are no simple solutions.
4. Fundraising is gaining respect as a profession.
Fundraising seems to be more and more recognized as a true profession, with its own well-documented knowledge base, credentials, and standards.
Tip: Organizations that acknowledge and respect their fundraising team’s skills, expertise, and authority, will raise far more money. Give your professionals the room to create and execute strategy – and your revenue will increase.
Major Gifts Fundraising Trends
5. Major gifts fundraising is gaining more emphasis.
More and more nonprofit leaders are recognizing that focusing on major gifts is the quickest and most expeditious way to meet revenue targets. There is strong demand for skills-based training and coaching in major gifts fundraising.
Tip: Investing in major gifts fundraising for your organization will pay off quickly, and will allow you to expand your work to make the world a better place.
6. Capital campaigns are everywhere.
Nonprofits of all sizes are showing that they have the confidence and skills to tackle big goals and make them happen.
Tip: If you are not in a capital campaign or planning one, then you probably want to move forward now and take advantage of the current environment.
7. Virtual donor visits.
Fortunately or unfortunately, virtual Zoom visits with donors are here to stay. Many older donors prefer to engage with their favorite causes from the comfort of their own homes.
Tip: Use Zoom as a tool to help donors feel connected, in touch, and close. You can still build a warm personal relationship over the phone or zoom.
Broadbased donations of smaller amounts.
8. Smaller donors just might be returning.
After years of declining numbers of smaller donors, we may be starting to see a change. One example: Giving Tuesday’s returns set new records for the number of donors participating, and in the number of overall donations.
Tip: Nurturing generous donors who give at smaller levels will help fuel broad-based community support for your cause.
9. New digital tools for donor engagement.
Digital fundraising will continue to increase as we see more sophisticated, multi-channel, and omnichannel approaches that can engage large bases of support.
Tip: If your team deploys digital tools creatively, you can drive increased donor participation and also the acquisition of new donors. Be creative!
10. Many COVID donors are drifting away, unfortunately.
Based on what we see with our clients and in overall donor retention numbers, many pandemic-era donors are not renewing their gifts. Many organizations that saw dramatic increases in contributions during the past two years missed the opportunity to
Tip: Create a deliberate initiative to engage with your newer donors, This can turn them from one-time donors to consistent, committed recurring donors. (This tip is from Executive Consultant Dr. Kathryn Gamble.)
11. Stronger connections with smaller donors.
Many wonderful new ways of engaging smaller donors are emerging – using technology, events, and even peer-to-peer approaches.
Tip: Engaging your donors – regardless of their gift amounts, is and always will be the key to a solid base of financial support.
12. Shifting orientation of high net worth philanthropists.
Many are pausing to reevaluate their old paradigms of giving to find charities with less “brand name” and more “high impact.”
Tip: Emphasizing your organization’s impact is and always will be a solid path. It appeals to donors of all types. (this tip is from Beth Ann Locke, the Director of our GPG Academy)
As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly insights with you as we cover important fundraising strategies.
If your organization is planning a capital campaign or expanding your major gifts program – we can help. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to schedule a free strategy call with us.