USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – January 2022

on February 8, 2022 by Micaela Cameron
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News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Welcome to the February issue of Fundraising Talks. This month, we continue to focus on recent trends that are sure to influence and shape the future of philanthropy. Higher education faces challenges such as decreasing student enrollment and declining numbers of individual donors. In addition, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that several key economic indicators from January 2022 convey some warning signs for nonprofits. This may sound discouraging, but by taking a look at emerging tools and trends in the philanthropic sector, we can strive to create fundraising strategies that bring an increased level of alumni engagement and philanthropic support in the future.

The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy recently published 11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2022, which can aid nonprofits that are looking to create short and long-term fundraising strategies. The trends identified in the report address some current socio-economic factors that influence the philanthropic sector, such as the rise of cryptocurrencies, growing culture wars, new engagement with indigenous communities, increasing attention to the decline in household giving to nonprofits, and the use of data by nonprofits. Another trend is that nonprofits are finding new ways to acquire the data they need. Traditionally, organizations have relied on “existing programmatic data or publicly available datasets for information about the communities they serve.” Today, with the use of “new technology and new partnerships, nonprofits are taking advantage of the rise of data philanthropy, predictive analytics, and machine learning to demonstrate impact.” A full list of all eleven trends can be found by clicking here.

It’s not surprising to see that nonprofits are finding new ways to acquire data and are understanding the importance of using data. However, data is useful only when it is of good quality and it can be used to derive meaningful insights – good quality data is essential in order to engage with donors and prospects. Prospect researchers collect and analyze data for fundraising purposes and they are continuously working to improve the quality of the data available to fundraisers. Forbes’ article “13 Ways Data Is Changing How Nonprofit Leaders Conduct Business” states that data can be used to:

  • Determine where to focus time and resources
  • Offer clarity in decision making, drive business planning
  • Visualize operational drawbacks and accomplishments
  • Assess achievements
  • Understand constituents
  • Create effective communication methods
  • Measure stakeholder behaviors
  • Identify trends
  • Initiate changes to models
  • Inform and transform mindsets
  • Increase philanthropic support
  • Provide actionable insight

Within prospect research, data can provide “insights on interests, areas of affinity, financial capacity, psychographics and past charitable behavior to drive focus and to support engaging optimal potential partners.” Additionally, as mentioned in the article, data governance, integrity, and insights have never been more important to the nonprofit sector.

New philanthropic trends can be used as a guide by organizations to find ways to utilize the growing market of cryptocurrencies and reverse the trends of declining charitable giving by individuals. Also, establishing policies and measures to maintain data integrity in databases is essential to cultivate good quality data for actionable insights. Before we wrap up this letter, I’d like to remind everyone that February is Black History Month. This would would be an optimal time to celebrate the support and impact of Black donors at your institutions. 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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