Fundraising is Forecasted to Bounce Back this Year—but It’s Still Not Time to Relax

         Most of us in the non-profit community have had it up to here with grim economic news. Between the Giving USA 2023 report that revealed a inflation-adjusted drop in giving of 10.5% to a constant stream of negative reports about the wider economy that is sure to impact nonprofits, we’ve all been looking for a ray of sunshine amongst so many clouds.

         Thankfully, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, that ray of optimism may have just broken through dark skies. The news is finally positive—but what impact it has on your organization will be based completely on how you choose to embrace your community.

         In a recently published article titled, “Are We Getting Back to Normal? New Reports Forecast Fundraising Growth,” Chronicle reporter Emily Haynes and senior editor Rasheeda Childress document an expected increase in philanthropy by an inflation-adjusted 4.2% in 2024 and a further 3.9% in 2025. Most importantly, these numbers aren’t optimistic daydreams—they are sourced from research completed by the Lily Family School of Philanthropy.

         The Chronicle article also notes that a recent survey of donors by fundraising consultancy Dunham+Company backs up the expected increase in giving. 78% of survey respondents reported that they do plan to give the same or more to nonprofits in 2024 as compared to 2023.

         This is all wonderful news for nonprofits—and not a moment too soon. Peter Hoskow, a principal at consulting firm CCS, explains: “I think fundraisers should use this as an optimistic tool and gear their plans, their goal setting, and their resourcing outlook according to a promising view that overall philanthropy will increase—and pretty handsomely.”

         The DonorSearch team wholeheartedly agrees that the key message nonprofits should take away from this positive forecast is that it is time to work harder than ever at creating strong relationships with our communities that remain durable—through both good times and bad. This is doubly important because of what the data says about individual donors.

         According to the research reported by the Chronicle, personal giving will lag behind overall giving, although it is still forecasted to increase. Individual giving is projected to fall to 62.8% of overall giving by 2025, down from 64% in 2022. This is a clear sign that more work must be done by nonprofits to build strong relationships with donors who can become long-term supporters of an organization.

         DonorSearch Senior Vice President Nathan Chappell explains why many nonprofits face challenges connecting with prospects in their community in The Generosity Crisis, a book he co-authored with the goal of explaining that generosity has fallen in our society—and how to fix it. Throughout its pages, Chappell documents the confusing landscape individual donors face these days. The public is often inundated with ads from for-profits that mimic nonprofits by including a philanthropic message in their sales pitches. Meanwhile, it seems we are solicited for donations practically everywhere we go. 

         To add to all this confusion, individual donors continue to be pinched by rampant inflation as grocery costs rise, making it more difficult to give as strained budgets are stretched even further. At the same time, mega donors like MacKenzie Scott, who recently gave $640 million to a variety of charities, make them feel their donations won’t move the needle in helping their chosen nonprofits achieve their goals anyway.

         As Chappell explains, “In the Generosity Crisis, we explained the struggle to keep donors’ attention in a world where they are constantly solicited for donations in every conceivable way. But we also explained the solution to the giving crisis, which we call ‘Radical Connection.’ This entails forming deep emotional relationships with our communities. Finding those potential donors who have too often been passed over is the key to monetarily supporting nonprofits, and that is what our work at DonorSearch focuses on.”

         Nonprofits must continue to put in the hard work of building an engaged community of donors and prospects who feel emotional commitment to organizations and their worthy missions. The best way to accomplish this mission is to possess accurate data about your community—and this is where DonorSearch truly shines.

         DonorSearch Executive Vice President and Co-Owner Sarah TeDesco explains, “Every nonprofit is surrounded by a community interested in helping them accomplish their good works. In a time of economic challenges and heightened competition for donors’ attention and gifts, it’s more important than ever to have a clear understanding of who in your community is most interested in helping you achieve your goals. DonorSearch clients are often surprised to reach potential donors they’ve never talked to that stand out in our data scoring, and our clients also find ongoing success in achieving their fundraising goals when utilizing our AI-driven approach to measuring engagement.”

         To learn just how we can help your organization maximize your fundraising potential as donations are projected to increase, please contact DonorSearch for a demo today. And if you are an experienced non-profit professional interested in helping new nonprofits build for future success every day, consider a career with DonorSearch.

Additional Resources

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