Lots of chatter online this month about the recently released, always fascinating Giving USA report and the Q4 2013 donorCentrics™ Index of Direct Marketing Fundraising. The primary good news take-away from Giving USA is that overall charitable giving is up for the fourth consecutive year. And donorCentrics spotlights the fact that individuals are giving more per person, which masks the downward trend in acquisition investment.
So what does this mean as we move forward?
First of all, pay attention to your donors. Joe Boland writes about the uptick in individual giving in Fundraising Success, “It’s just more proof that every donor matters… Fundraisers must always focus on their donors, cultivating them and building trusting, intimate relationships to land those future major gifts — and maybe even those future grants and corporate dollars.”
We couldn’t agree more. We know that the best ways to encourage donations are to focus on meeting individual donors where they are, to offer multi-channel ways for them to engage with your organization, and to cultivate their broad-based support for your mission.
But perhaps more important, and as the donorCentrics Index highlights, nonprofits must find ways to increase their business investments for long-term growth. So much has been written lately about upping our game in this industry – like Allison Porter’s recent blog 5 Barriers to Growth and How to Move Beyond Them – to challenge the traditional way of looking at the costs of fundraising and investing in growth.
As these reports indicate, there’s more room for growth in individual giving, as consumer confidence and the economy improve. So we’ve got to invest in our donor bases now. We don’t want to leave money on the table as donors’ confidence in their own finances and the economy continue to improve.