Guest post by David J. Neff – Author of The Future of Nonprofits: Thrive and Innovate in the Digital Age
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 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.”
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 www.thefutureofnonprofits.com and order the book here.