Top 3 Trends to Fool Proof your Future Fundraising | npENGAGE

Top 3 Trends to Fool Proof your Future Fundraising

By on Jun 9, 2011


The Future of Nonprofits

Guest post by David J. Neff – Author of The Future of Nonprofits: Thrive and Innovate in the Digital Age

The Future of Nonprofits

Hey online fundraisers! Time flies when you are having fun right? Or maybe time flies when you’re not having fun in light of the recent economic woes?

Predicting the future can be a scary thing for nonprofits and the scariest part of it can be thinking about where, who and how they will receive funding in the future to continue their mission. Will funding come in the form of grants, traditional event revenue, donations, or something more radical?

For large nonprofits here is some even scarier news:  the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported in October of 2010 that donations to the nation’s largest charities dropped 11% last year. The Chronicle called this the worst decline in giving in twenty years.

The median expected change for nonprofits in 2010 was supposed to be an increase of 1.4%. Instead, so far in 2010, giving to the United Way Worldwide (the largest charity in the survey) decreased by 4.5% and giving to Salvation Army (the second largest charity in the survey) dropped by 8.4%. Further, donations to the American Cancer Society dropped by a shocking 11%. Part of relying on a continued income stream is creating a future cast of your organization.

1)    The Rise of the Individual Fundraisers

Much as we saw the rise of the team fundraising event from the late 1980’s into the new millennium, we will start to see its decline as we enter into 2016 and beyond. The proof is in the numbers. According to stats from the RUN. WALK. RIDE. conference of 2010[1] the top thirty “thon” (i.e. Walk A Thon, Bike A Thon, Swim A Thon)  fundraising programs … were down from $1.76 billion in 2008, the council’s fourth annual “Run Walk Ride Thirty” study reports. The collective $133.9 million drop was the first overall decrease in revenue ever recorded.

2)    The Rise of the Socially-Conscious Partnership

In the early 2000’s, we saw the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in for-profit companies. In fact, some larger companies now have a social responsibility officer with an actual department. This stems from the idea that for-profits should be engaging and giving back to their local communities, the environment, and to social causes. Corporate Social Responsibility has been enacted on the local community level and all the way up to the global stage.

3)    The Shift in Donor Attitudes

If you look at the shift in fundraising over time from door-to-door to the phone, mail, email, the Web and social media sites, you will also be able to see a fundamental shift in donors’ attitudes. We think this will be a huge change from now through 2016 and beyond and want you be ready for it. According to a study of eight thousand  Americans and seven thousand Canadians of all ages and giving levels (as well as 42 American and Canadian nonprofits) done by the firm Cygnus Applied Research, their findings indicate a “definite shift in giving, paving the way for a new, independent donor.” They do their research online and make confident choices,” says Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Applied Research. “Fundraising needs to adapt to this pro-active donor who won’t be told when and how to give.”[2]

Want to find out the other two future fundraising trends? Then be sure to get your copy of the “The Future of Nonprofits: Thrive and Innovate in the Digital Age”. My co-author Randal Moss and I also cover the top five communication trends of the future as well. You can read more and discuss your predictions at and order the book here.


Frank Barry, formerly worked at Blackbaud helping nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

Comments (2)

  • Chris Tuttle says:

    Great post, David!  I have 2 very close-to-home examples just in the past month somewhat relating to your very points…

    1) My sister took part in her first fundraiser last month.  She was nervous about raising the required $200 minimum goal and/or annoying her friends and family– goal, but with a little advice and effort, she blew her goal out of the water and received tons of support from friends, coworkers and family.  She’s now excited for next year’s event and plans to raise her goal to even higher than she raised this year and fundraising is no longer a scary unknown territory.

    2) Just yesterday my (older-but-she’d-kill-me-if-I-said-how-old) mother (who I am visiting) received a call from a non-profit organization she made a one-time gift to in the past.  She listened to their appeal and spoke to them for a few minutes, and I overheard her say “Well, I’ll tell you what… I’ll visit your website and make another gift, but I prefer not to do that on the phone–with all the scams and whatnot.”  We talked about it after the fact and Mom noted the caller “…was thankful, but didn’t sound happy I was going to go online to make the gift… kind of abruptly ended the call and didn’t even wish me a good day.  I wonder if she’s commission-based.”  I spoke with her about the organization in question, and I suggested she consider a different organization instead, a more needing organization–because of how much this first one spends on internal administrative costs compared to their counter-parts.  My basically replied, “I’m so glad you said that, I always try looking that information up, but it’s often hard to find… and then I don’t give at all because I don’t know where it’s going.”  Organizations need to be clear about this information, in mail, on the phone and online–especially when they excel at spending donor money wisely.  Donors are listening.

  • modern rugs says:

    Its great  idea  of raising a online funds.Its very big help to the donors Which are interested in the donation.This article is very informative Keep sharing with us.

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