Earlier this month I was part of an expert panel discussing the fundraising outlook for 2016, sponsored by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. I was joined by Una Osili, Director of Research for the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, James Asp, Chief Development Officer for The Nature Conservancy, and Drew Hastings, Chief Development Officer for the National Philanthropic Trust. (You can view this session on demand here.) Some key takeaways:
- Giving continues to grow and individual giving still makes up more than 70% of all charitable contributions in the U.S.
- Donors are returning to pre-recession giving habits, offering increased support for causes such as arts, education, and environment.
- While giving is trending in a positive direction, the 2016 climate for fundraising may be challenging with global economic worries, and what looks to be an intense election year with a focus on politicized giving.
- More donors are exploring charitable giving vehicles like Donor-Advised Funds and Impact Investing and these types of giving will have a big effect on philanthropy across all generations and issue areas.
- Technology and connectivity are driving growth for individual giving, particularly for small/medium nonprofits.
What can small and mid-sized nonprofits do to boost their individual giving? Here are three key opportunities I see for 2016:
Diversify with Distributed, Community-Based Giving
Peer-to-peer fundraising, crowdfunding, and giving days are shifting how nonprofits leverage fundraising events and campaigns to attract new donors and grow their donor base. As these methods become more mainstream and familiar to donors, along with affordable and easy-to-use technology, fundraisers should expect continued significant growth in the volume of donations coming through these approaches. Consider how your message can be amplified and inspire more donations through the growth of donors connecting with their networks via social and mobile channels.
Build Subscription Giving
Looking for increased lifetime donor value, higher retention rates, and a better return on investment? Look to recurring giving. This is a smart strategy for all nonprofits, but particularly for small shops. Your fundraising dollar goes further with each acquisition of a monthly donor, because those donors will likely continue to give more, longer. Monthly giving programs can make it easier for donors to give more annually and build a stronger ongoing relationship with your organization. The average recurring donor gives 42% more in one year than donors who give one-time gifts, and retention rates are over 80% for monthly donors who reach the one-year mark. (Need help building your monthly giving program? Sign up for our free course.)
Offer Data-Driven, Tailored Experiences
With each campaign, you’re collecting more information (and insight!) about your donors and how/why they give. Make 2016 the year that you really use this intel fully. There really is no excuse this year not to better understand your donor data and use it to offer smarter experience to each segment of donors. From your communications to your giving experience, we know that tailored messages and branded experiences result in higher conversion rates, larger average donations, and more engaged donors. (Need a better way to manage your donor data? Let’s talk about donor management and going beyond Excel to manage your information.)
Ready to tackle 2016 and make this your best fundraising year ever?
I’ve got your back. Register for our free webinar: 7 Steps to a Stellar Fundraising Plan. Heather Yandow of Third Space Studio will join me to share practical tips for identifying your priorities to acquire, grow and retain more donors. Don’t miss it—register now.
Want more insight on 2016 trends? Here are some other great posts that caught my eye:
- David Callahan of Inside Philanthropy offers this roundup chock full of trends and funders to watch in 2016.
- Bruce DeBoskey from the DeBoskey Group shares six key developments that will set the pace for philanthropy in the coming year.
- TechSoup offers technology predictions for the year and some thoughts on when we might close the digital divide.