Embrace Innovation Exploring the Future of Fundraising Campaigns
Fundraising Published Date, 2024

Embrace Innovation: Exploring The Future Of Fundraising Campaigns

Created By: Piper Hardin, CFRE and Amanda Nelson
June 17, 2024

In our ever-evolving economic landscape, fundraising campaigns are undergoing a significant transformation. To explore this shift further, we recently had the pleasure of joining The Giving Block’s thought-provoking webinar, “Beyond Traditional Giving: Exploring the Future of Fundraising Campaigns.”  Our conversation was timely and provided invaluable insights and inspiration for seasoned and new fundraising professionals.

Access the recording >> https://thegivingblock.com/events/webinar-beyond-traditional-giving-exploring-the-future-of-fundraising/

Here are the key takeaways from the discussion that nonprofit professionals should be thinking about going forward as they approach their next fundraising effort:

Understanding The Current Wealth Landscape

In today’s fundraising climate, nonprofit organizations are wise to pay heed to market trends and evolving tax laws. Today’s philanthropists are sophisticated and informed, meaning nonprofit organizations should be as well.  

What are some market trends we are seeing in 2024? For one, we are seeing an uptick in the market, which encourages individuals to support more readily causes they care about. Our current bullish market presents increased economic opportunities, fostering an ideal environment for philanthropic engagement.

Secondly, today, a substantial portion of campaign funding originates from a select group of top-tier donors. This is a change from years past, when 90-95% of campaign totals came from many middle and lower-tier donors and gifts. We’re now seeing fewer gifts in larger amounts from the top 5-10% of a nonprofit’s donor base. Savvy donors are also capitalizing on favorable tax laws, maximizing the benefits of these incentives. With cash constituting only 9% of an individual’s total assets, nonprofits must adapt to changing donor preferences and embrace new channels for engagement.

Catching Up on Campaign Trends

Campaign fundraising is witnessing a significant shift, with planned, blended, and non-cash gifts accounting for over 50% of total donations. Noteworthy trends include:

  • Larger gifts fueling ambitious campaigns: Donors are making bigger contributions, which is enabling more ambitious and far-reaching fundraising campaigns and projects.
  • Blended and planned gifts gaining momentum: There is a growing trend of donors combining various types of donations, such as cash, securities, and bequests, to maximize their giving impact.
  • Increasing flexibility in traditional campaign stages: Fundraising campaigns are becoming more adaptable, allowing for adjustments in strategy and timing to better meet evolving donor expectations and market conditions.
  • More defined roles for volunteer leaders: Volunteer leaders are taking on more specific and strategic roles within campaigns, enhancing their effectiveness and engagement. Nonprofit staff are leaning in to support these volunteer leaders.
  • Evolving donor-driven recognition: The way donors are acknowledged and appreciated is changing, with a greater emphasis on personalizing recognition to reflect individual donor preferences and motivations. In some cases, this is by encouraging others in their network to match their giving.
  • Giving restrictions aligning with specific purposes: Donors are increasingly specifying how their contributions should be used, aligning their gifts with transformational projects or outcomes they are passionate about.

More and more donors are maximizing their impact through blended gift strategies, emphasizing the importance of nonprofits being prepared for these conversations. Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) have emerged as the fastest-growing charitable vehicle, with $234 billion in asset value and $46.7 billion distributed through grants to nonprofits. If you are not following these trends, you should start now.

Harnessing the Opportunity Today

To stay ahead, fundraisers must embrace innovation and adopt a forward-thinking approach to donor engagement. Engaging donors now requires more time, and often involves multiple generations and advisors. Organizations must equip their teams with a comprehensive understanding of planned giving terminologies and vehicles.

Additionally, updating Gift Acceptance Policies, establishing a Gift Review Committee, and involving CFOs in decision-making processes are first crucial steps. Encouraging DAF-friendly language in external communications, integrating bequest language on websites, and providing information on stock and cryptocurrency gifts are other essential strategies to consider.

Underscoring all of these efforts is the imperative to strengthen relationships with donors and be creative in fundraising efforts. By meeting donors where their interests lie, nonprofits can help maximize the philanthropic impact of their donors and pave the way for a brighter philanthropic future.

Orr Group brings a business mindset and an innovative approach to help our nonprofit partners expand their impact Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reach new heights with your fundraising.

Piper Hardin, CFRE is a Senior Director at Orr Group. Specializing in capital campaign assessments & strategic planning, frontline fundraising, board development, and team leadership, Piper brings over two decades of professional development experience to the table.

Amanda Nelson

Amanda Nelson is a Managing Director at Orr Group. With 20 years of professional fundraising experience, Amanda brings extensive expertise working with large, complex organizations and developing innovative and scalable fundraising solutions.

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