Nonprofit Fundraising Trends for 2023

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 if you’d like to schedule a free strategy call with us.

We offer this list of suggested New Year’s Resolutions for Board Members to encourage them to consider their important role and reflect on how they can be more effective as board members. 

Here are 10 New Year’s resolutions for board members that encourage self-reflection on your board’s culture, its decision-making process, how everyone behaves, and how involved everyone is in fundraising.  

The beginning of the year is a great time to set goals and resolutions that can help board members make a positive impact on their organization and the community it serves.  

This post is updated from earlier years – but it is perennially popular. I’ve updated it for 2023!

Here are some ideas for nonprofit board members – to remind everyone of what’s truly important, and help focus on positive action.

How about these for a list of proposed New Year’s Resolutions for Board Members?

1. I will foster a positive and inclusive culture on our board and within our nonprofit.

As a board member, I will strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all stakeholders, including staff, volunteers, donors, and people we serve. This means actively seeking out diverse perspectives and ideas, and creating a culture of respect and open communication.

To support inclusivity, I will welcome diverse people, perspectives and options. In addition, I will be aware of our board’s culture, and will encourage board members from diverse backgrounds to share their perspectives in our discussions. 

I resolve for all my contributions to be positive and optimistic. I will bring a positive point of view to all discussions, and discourage negativity. My voice will focus on ideas of abundance rather than scarcity. 

Moreover, I will aim to be always hopeful for the best; to encourage discussions of great possibilities. Knowing that negativity wipes out our board’s energy and passion, I commit to being a positive influence on other board members.

2. I will make my own proud, personal gift to support my institution.

AND I will encourage all other board members to give. I understand that if we don’t put our money where our mouth is, we have absolutely no credibility as stewards of the organization’s financial health and mission. 

When everyone is making their own proud personal gift, they are demonstrating their support for fundraising. They’re acknowledging that fundraising, gifts and contributions are all essential to financial stability.  

When everyone is participating in your organization’s philanthropy, you are adding integrity to the fundraising process. As a matter of fact, when board members are not supporting their organization financially, they send a very loud message to the community — that they are not fully behind this organization’s mission.

I will set an example by giving cheerfully and generously, and model appropriate generosity to the rest of our board.

To put it in the words of a funder:“If the leaders of the organization don’t support it, why should anyone else?”

3. I will encourage everyone to think big and challenge the status quo.

As a board member, I know that thinking small will not get us where we want to go. We are not going to change the world, alleviate suffering, change our community, find a cure – by thinking small.

So I will encourage everyone to think big. I understand that there is great power in a big, wildly exciting vision. Because, we know that a big juicy vision will help attract people – and financial resources – to our cause. 

Even more, knowing that change is hard for all organizations, including ours  – I will be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. I resolve to be willing to ask, “Why are we doing it this way?

I will encourage my fellow board members to be willing to let go of the past and consider new opportunities and strategies – no matter how threatening change is.

Equally, I will remember Jack Welch’s famous quote:

If change is happening outside the organization faster than it is on the inside, the end is near.”

4. I will have a bias towards positive action.

Knowing that my organization needs more than “talk” out of board members, I will focus on positive actions we can take.  I refuse to be one of those board members who thinks their job is simply to come to meetings and just offer an opinion.

Moreover, I will make sure that the opinions that I do offer are thoughtful, respectful and are based on some type of data rather than on my personal preferences. 

I will ask our CEO and staff how we can help them and what support they need. I will encourage a can-do attitude – because THAT is what can change the world.

Likewise, I will share these new years resolutions for board members with my colleagues and encourage open discussion of these ideas. 

5. I resolve to stay informed and understand our financials.

I promise to take my role as a fiduciary guardian of our nonprofit seriously. As a board member, I understand my responsibility to oversee the financial health of the organization. 

I’ll resolve to stay informed about my organization’s budget, financial performance, and fundraising efforts. Even more, I will encourage transparency and accountability. I’ll look deeply at the data on how we raise money, and how we spend it.

It will be important for me to learn more about where our money really goes, and why we need more funding. I want to learn about my organization’s fundraising plan and our specific funding/business model.

In particular, I will commit to reviewing – and understanding – financial reports and resolve to ask questions when necessary.

Like Tom Peters said,

“Without data, I’m just another person with an opinion.”

6. I will wholeheartedly support our fundraising program, and will encourage others to do so.

I understand that there are many ways I can support fundraising and help celebrate our donors. 

Since board members are the highest authorities of our organization, I  know that we can add clout to all aspects of the fundraising program. Additionally, we know that donors feel honored when a board member makes a thank you phone call or sends a thank you email. 

Since fundraising is not just just about asking for money, I know I can play a valuable role even if I am not out there soliciting – by opening doors, making connections, meeting prospects, thanking donors, involving new people, and more.

In addition, I resolve to educate myself about fundraising – how it works today in this changing world and what works best for us. 

As for me, I won’t suggest a new fundraising idea or project without first understanding its potential impact on our staffing and volunteer resources.

7. I will help foster an organizational culture that will support fundraising and philanthropy.

I understand my various fundraising responsibilities as a board member, and will help foster a strong organizational culture of philanthropy.

As a supportive board member, I will encourage everyone in the organization foster the three components of a true culture of philanthropy.

One, we will all engage in and support the fundraising program in whatever way they can. We know there are many ways that everyone in the organization can help in fundraising without having to ask for money. Fundraising will not be isolated into an organizational silo. 

Second, I will encourage an organizational culture that celebrates our donors as important stakeholders and supporters of our mission.

Finally, I will ensure that fundraising is respected and acknowledged as an important mission-centric activity. Instead of backing away from fundraising, I will encourage fellow board members to be as supportive as possible. 

8. I will support our CEO and staff.

I will not ask the staff to overwork themselves, or sacrifice their personal lives in the name of our cause. Equally, I will encourage a positive work environment where our staff team feels acknowledged and respected. 

Understanding that they carry enormous responsibility on their shoulders, I will support paying them competitive salaries, giving them a healthy, happy workplace and ensuring that adequate training is provided to do the job. 

I resolve to support an appropriate boundary between board members and staffers, and I will encourage other board members to understand the management lines of communication. 

This means that I will not attempt to direct individual staff members. Instead I will deal with their boss, our CEO or Executive Director.

I resolve to show up when a staff member calls or emails.  And help out when asked.

9. I will advocate for our cause wherever I go.

Knowing that ideas can be contagious and spread among people like wildfire — I will spread the word about our work wherever I go. 

I resolve to be a great ambassador for our organization – sharing news and information about our impact to everyone in my network. 

Above all, I want to help create an epidemic of buzz about my organization all around. I’ll practice conversation skills and a short elevator speech that can open the door to a potential donor. 

I resolve to be a terrific personal advocate for our organization and our cause. And I’ll have fun doing it!

10. I will support the board to assess its governance and performance each year.

Knowing that good governance practices should always be reviewed and discussed, I will encourage us to conduct an annual self-assessment.

Moreover, I understand that the results of our board self assessment can open up new ideas about the way we work together, how we run our board meetings, what expectations we ask of all the board members, and our overall internal culture. 

I’ll encourage our Board Governance Committee to bring forward new ideas, practices and strategies to help our board become a high-functioning team. 

Bottom Line on New Year’s Resolutions for Board Members:

For the coming year, and all years, I dedicate myself to making my service on the board meaningful. And to encourage a positive, can-do, board culture.

If you’d like to reprint this article in your newsletter or distribute it to your board members, please link and attribute to our site.