New Report on Philanthropy Recommends Different Fundraising Tactics

9 Nov

A new report was published by Blackbaud, Inc. on which presents some surprising results. This report entitled “Growing Philanthropy in the United States” suggests that charitable funding has stagnated over the past four decades. We all know that donor’s pockets don’t seem to be as deep as they used to be, so we just need to find more pockets, right? However, this report also has some surprising recommendations to help non-profits increase their funding.

Co-authored by Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang of Indiana University, the report is presented by Indiana University, Blackbaud, Hartsook Companies, and Hartsook Institutes for Fundraising and is based on research from the Growing Philanthropy Summit. “Despite an increasing effort on the part of nonprofits, individuals today give no more than their predecessors did over four decades ago,” said Adrian Sargeant, co-author of the report and Hartsook Professor of Fundraising, Indiana University. “Forty years of increasingly sophisticated fundraising practice, the development of planned giving vehicles, the appearance of the Internet, and the rise of new digital channels have done nothing to move the needle on giving. Yet, while giving has remained static, demands on the sector have not.” According to Giving USA, in the United States, charitable giving is estimated to be around two percent of average household disposable income.

While giving levels may not have increased, I think that a huge factor in the giving process is the accessibility for donors to make their contributions. For example, if a person has allocated two percent of their income for charity, will they donate to an organization where they have to search for information, address an envelope and write a check or will they be more willing to give to someone they are connected to on Facebook with a link to give online? Of course a major factor in this equation is history and emotional connection, but with Fundly, many of our donors have seen an increase in their giving numbers.

According to the report, leaders in this study recommend that charities need to change by “shifting the focus in fundraising practice away from technique toward the encouragement of individual philanthropy; Redesigning the structure of fundraising education, particularly for more senior practitioners; The creation of a research institute that would focus solely on fundraising research and adding value for donors; The development of a public educational initiative that would dispel common myths about the way the sector operates and thus enhance the public trust.”

Personally I find it rather discouraging that the majority of people give only two percent of their income to philanthropy, but I also think that charities need to work smarter, not harder at gaining donor support. Accessibility and consistent connections will keep your donors tied in.



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