Posts Tagged ‘2010’

Fundraising in 2010

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Note: Don’s series on effective fundraising will continue in two weeks.

Network for Good published an article last week on the predictions for fundraising in 2010. They are worth repeating and discussing as nonprofits continue to face economic challenges, changing donor habits and demographics.

More donations, but smaller average gift size. This will make it critical for nonprofits to grow their donor base and develop an ongoing relationship with donors – regardless of donation size.

Hesitation to donate to new causes. 2010 will still be a tough economic year. Limited funds and a still shaky economic situation will lead donors to demand greater transparency and impact – and a clearer picture of what their donation is paying for.

Increased online fundraising. This can lead to message clutter, donor fatigue and apathy – too many messages can be overwhelming and can turn the donor off of philanthropic activity. Nonprofits will have to become more aware of their “competition”, their message and their donor base – and know what does and does not result in donations.

Increase in recurring donations. Tough economic times may mean donors need to spread a total gift over a period of time. Offering recurring donation capability with every online transaction will increase the size of the donation and the appreciation of the donor, as it makes the donation process as easy as possible.

Prepare now for year-end donation surges. For the last 5 years, the 4th quarter of each calendar year has meant a significant increase in donations. Typically first quarter provides the least number (and lowest amount) of donations for nonprofits. Spend the time refining strategy, understanding your fundraising and donation process and tweaking your message so that you’re ready to take advantage of the end-of-year donation upswing.

What are your predictions for 2010? Are you tweaking your fundraising strategy?

-Sara Brueck Nichols

The Case for Philanthropy

Friday, January 8th, 2010

As a rule, I generally don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I’m a bit anti-winter, and it is drudgery to try and motivate myself to try anything new when it’s dark and snowy outside. Generally my burst of ambition (and consequently, goal-setting) comes in April or May when I start to unthaw.

I did set one resolution this year, however: I want to give more and give throughout the year, not just during the holidays. For the past two holiday seasons my husband and I have made a point to give a little more, and yet I feel still feel we’re not giving enough. While 2009 was a rough year for nearly everyone, we have employment, a place to live, heat, food, clothing and family. So many people do not have even those basics – and large economic recessions like that of the last two years only continue to add to that number.

Yet our giving as a whole tends to decrease during the times when those around it need it most.

The first of the 2009 giving news came out this week. To no one’s surprise, giving among America’s wealthiest citizens was down in 2009. Collectively, the wealthiest individuals and families gave $2.7 billion to charity last year, a decline of more than 65% from 2008’s levels.

2009 numbers for the public as a whole won’t be out until June, but the Urban Institute reports in their “High Impact Philanthropy” report: “According to Giving USA, charitable giving dropped by 5.7 percent between 2007 and 2008, after adjusting for inflation. Meanwhile, the Johns Hopkins Listening Post reports that three in four nonprofits maintained or increased the number of people served.”

It is doubtful that 2009’s numbers will even reach those of 2008 – and yet the need for giving has increased. A case can be made that there was less money to give, to be sure. At the same time, a case can be made that maybe some of us were too desperate to hang on to relative comforts to share what we did have.

It is easy to sit in our warm, comfortable homes with our plentiful food and forget about those who are wondering if they’ll survive the bitter cold weather this week in the Midwest or how many meals they might have to skip tomorrow – or when the next big financial blow will topple the house of cards. Then there are those who do not have any of that to begin with.

It’s easy to think, “I cannot be a philanthropist – I am not wealthy.” It’s not so easy to remember that if you have shelter, heat and food on the table you are better off than the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants. In fact, if you had $2,200 in total assets to your name in 2000 you would have had more than 50% of the world’s population. If you had $61,000 in total assets, you would have been in the richest 10% of the world’s population, according to a 2006 World Institute of Development Economics study.

Philanthropy is about more than giving large sums of money. [Philanthropy is] altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons. (

Lest you think you cannot make a difference, consider this: In 2008, Individual Americans gave $229 billion to charity. Of that, only 3.5% (approximately $8 billion) came from the wealthiest individuals and families in America. The rest primarily came from the rest of us – the “regular guys.”

It’s not too hard to realize that most of us have it pretty good. With that, I invite you to join me in my resolution to be a philanthropist in 2010 – to recognize what we do have and generously share the excess.

-Sara Brueck Nichols