USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – February 2021

on February 10, 2021 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Dear Colleagues,

Happy February to all. Many of us are hoping for a quick rollout of COVID vaccinations, while nonprofit organizations and education institutions are creating strategic plans to open up facilities and operate safely in the future. Fundraising professionals continue to identify and reach out to donors and prospective donors with a level of uncertainty still lingering due to the impact of the pandemic. In this newsletter, we are sharing insights from recent reports that will enable you to produce an effective fundraising plan for the year.

First, it’s worth looking at a report from Data Axle that outlines best practices for nonprofits when connecting with today’s donors. This data was collected from a survey of over 1,200 charitable donors. Some of the key findings from the report include:

  • Young donors who are between 18 to 29 years of age are more likely to set up recurring donations,
  • Email is the preferred communications channel for 48 percent of respondents,
  • 51 percent of donors say they have not changed their charitable gift amount during the pandemic, and
  • Multichannel fundraising strategy is now significant.

These discoveries are important to keep in mind as nonprofits need to communicate with donors continuously and successfully. The survey also noted that donors feel loyal to a nonprofit when its mission remains meaningful to them. Another report by Virtuous and NextAfter, found that “multi-channel donors give more than three times as much as single-channel donors, yet only three percent of nonprofits sent multi-channel communications to online and offline donors.” Click here to access a PDF of the report.

A recent article in CASE Currents magazine, “Major Gift Fundraising During COVID-19: Trends and Takeaways,” focuses on metrics from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois that reveal some trends in fundraising during COVID-19. It may also be interesting to look at our institutions’ metrics to find out what we can learn. By inspecting their major gifts data, Northwestern learned that in 2020, the overall dollar amount raised only fell slightly compared to the previous year. They found that major gift numbers continued to grow, despite a decreased number of major gift solicitations. This may have been due to the fact that major gift donors felt more motivated to contribute to causes they care about and that these major donors were already deeply engaged with the university. The article also notes how gift officers’ use of virtual engagement strategies and other technological tools during the pandemic may have helped with closing major gifts much faster than before. However, the article states that there is a chance that major gifts may be slowing down during the winter months, and that international fundraising may continue to take a substantial hit. Though we may be met with challenges in the future, looking at previous data on different giving programs at institutions will help with creating improved and innovative work processes to overcome these challenges.

We would like to acknowledge that February is national African American History Month. As we continue to increase awareness of diversity and inclusion, we encourage you to take a look at this report on high-net-worth donors of color that maybe beneficial in your fundraising efforts. As always, please feel free to reach out us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!

Best Regards,
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team

Read more in this issue of Fundraising Talks>>



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