A Five Part Series:
2020 Fundraising Trends – Where are they now?
This week we are taking a further look at our 2020 predictions and how they have transpired so far.
- Mid-level Giving Retention — Mid-level donors (those giving between $250 and $999) declined by 4% in 2018. These are the donors who may have been most impacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Building relationships and systems to engage donors below your current major gift level is crucial to increased overall net revenue.
According to the 2020, First Quarter Report by The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), overall giving to charities dropped 6% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same time last year, including an 11% dive in March as the country headed into the COVID-19 shutdowns. Smaller-dollar donors made a strong showing during the first quarter, as the survey noted a 6% uptick in donations of less than $250. Mid-level gifts of $250 to $999 decreased by 2.2%. Higher-level gifts, those of $1,000 or more, dropped by 7.4%.
However, it is important to note that this mid-level group still represents a majority of the overall net revenue. Early response to our COVID-19 specific fundraising efforts indicates that about 39% of the gifts made came from $100+ donors and represent 77 to 80% of the net income received. Continue to nurture and engage this group. They provide a substantial impact on your bottom line.
- Greater Focus on Mission — More than ever, there will be a need to stay mission-focused and clear about priorities. Historically election cycle advertising will vie for attention and mindshare. Nonprofits need to provide safety and security for what will likely be challenging times.
Throughout the first half of the year, organizations that focused on their mission fared better than those that did not. For fundraising to be successful in our current climate, an organization must be itself, remaining true to its mission and vision. Dr. Una Osili, Associate Dean for Research and International Programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, in the annual Giving USA report webinar for 2020, stated annual gifts are up significantly in social services organizations – those who have focused on providing services specific to the pandemic.
As high unemployment rates, economic uncertainty and the social revolution continue, expectations for additional giving are low. These trying times underscore the need for fundraisers to send authentic, relevant and consistent appeals for support. After all, donations don’t just materialize – they have to be earned. This time of insecurity provides an opportunity to reexamine your case for giving. Ensure that donors understand the more urgent need for your services and what you are doing to address the problems. Focus on the now and things in which donors can invest. Tell them why this time is the right time to give. Don’t be afraid to share your organizational struggles; they are expected when there is so much uncertainty. Fundraisers should never be fearful of donor fatigue if they stay mission-focused and provide relevant content.
Check out last week’s post here and stay tuned for part three next week.