FYI Blog

The Impact of the 2016 Election on Fundraising

At Avalon, we strive to stay on top of trends to better understand our clients’ programs and maximize fundraising opportunities. We all know that fundraising for certain nonprofits has been through the roof since the 2016 election (e.g. the ACLU). But it’s clear that the election had an impact across the board.

We recently took a deep dive into some data, and our goal was to better quantify this impact, specific to client type and their current fundraising trajectory. Our pre- and post-election analysis reveals some interesting trends I’d like to share.

We compared the window prior to the elections (July to October) with the period after (November to January) for all our clients, year over year, for the past four years. We removed clients whose data are an anomaly due to specific events unrelated to the elections.

While each organization has its own particular story to tell based on its own goals and decisions, we have outlined some commonalities across the board below.

Unsurprisingly, Avalon’s political advocacy clients saw a clear boost in the timeframes before and after the election in 2016 compared to previous years, with the post-election window being the strongest.

Chart 1 Pol Advocacy Clients NO HEADER

But interestingly, our non-political advocacy clients also saw a boost during the same period.

Chart 2 NON-Pol Advocacy Clients NO HEADER

And, remarkably, looking at two discrete years in our non-political advocacy clients’ fundraising, even those that were not experiencing growth got a slight bump post-election.

Chart 3 NON-Pol Advocacy Clients Non-election window NO HEADERv2

And, those non-political advocacy clients that were already on a growth trajectory got an even greater boost post-election.

Chart 4 NON-Pol Advocacy Clients Post-election window NO HEADERv2

It’s clear that, at least during and after this past political election, donors were paying attention to what was at stake for the nonprofits they care about—and giving accordingly. Avalon will continue to monitor these trends and use this information to develop strategy for our clients’ programs in the year ahead.

One more data point to consider: The Consumer Confidence Index® had a huge increase in March—reaching its highest level since December 2000. Consumer confidence isn’t a guarantee of more charitable giving, but such a significant swing upwards definitely indicates that consumers/donors are feeling much more optimistic about the economy and economic growth. And their ability to spend/give. We’ll closely monitor how that positive attitude affects giving as the summer days and political turmoil heat up.