USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – December 2023

on December 5, 2023 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Welcome to December’s Fundraising Talks. It’s hard to believe that 2023 is ending soon. This time of the year is an opportunity to reflect on the what occurred this year and plan for the new year! I think we can say that we managed to have a somewhat “normal” year finally, relative to the past couple of years. We are used to working in a hybrid environment and have accepted the reality that we need to be prepared to confront unprecedented crises like the COVID pandemic. 2023 turned out to be a productive and successful year where we focused on connecting and engaging with new and existing donors. Prospect research has been diligent in gathering data and providing strategic analysis on donors and prospective donors. 

Looking ahead to 2024, philanthropy and fundraising will be greatly shaped by the adoption of new and emerging technologies. In 2023, we became familiar with the potential applications of AI such as Chat GPT. In the coming years, we will continue to witness higher usage of AI in higher education philanthropy. A recent GG&A blog, Leveraging AI for Donor Pipeline Development: Practical Strategies for Fundraising Teams, talks about how to utilize AI for identifying, cultivating and stewarding donors. Here are the three steps that nonprofit organizations can take to make better use of AI:

  1. Learn about available AI tools. This may include tools for predictive analysis, personalized engagement strategies, virtual client interactions, donor behavior analysis and prospective donor insights. 
  2. Utilize change management strategies to increase stakeholder buy-in. New tools and technologies might seem intimidating at first, but we need to measure results after employing them to overcome our fears. 
  3. Identify and establish key performance indicators that demonstrate advancement outcomes and use them to measure the impact of AI. By doing so, we will be able to see how AI is helping to provide positive results in fundraising. 

On a different note, The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s article, GivingTuesday Results Are Flat; Nonprofits Raise $3.1 Billion, reports that $3.1 billion was received in total to U.S. nonprofits on GivingTuesday, while there was a decrease in donor participation. 34 million people contributed on GivingTuesday, which is down 10 percent from 2022. Decrease in donor participation is an issue that continues to be visible in reports and is something that advancement leaders should strategically plan to improve in the future. Organizations may have to work harder to develop deeper connections with donors and build trust with them to gain their support. Lesser donors also means that in the future, major gift fundraising will be even more important to ensure successful fundraising.



We wish you all a wonderful holiday and a prosperous new year! As always, please feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments, or any assistance with fundraising research!

Best Regards,
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team
Read more in this issue of Fundraising Talks>>

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