USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – January 2024

on January 5, 2024 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Happy New Year and welcome to January’s Fundraising Talks. We have successfully entered another year and look forward to helping you advance philanthropy and fundraising at the USM campuses. The fundraising landscape in higher education and other industries has been evolving in the past year, and it will not be any different in 2024. As in past years, we will see a continuation of trends from 2023 this year. In the United States, philanthropy will be influenced by factors such as the 2024 presidential election, diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, the rise of artificial intelligence, and newer technologies.

As fundraising professionals strive to facilitate donors and prospective donors in making meaningful and impactful contributions to our organizations, it’s important to understand the latest trends that will likely shape the philanthropy landscape. In 2023, staffing, economic conditions, fundraising diversification, and political polarization were listed as trends in a Chronicle of Philanthropy article. Many of these 2023 trends will remain in 2024; however, there are some newer 2024 trends that should be added to the list as well. The 2024 trends that fundraisers need to watch were listed in a recent article and include the following:

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI will continue to transform the fundraising landscape as nonprofits gain a better understanding of how it can help make fundraising successful.

2. Donor-Advised Funds: DAF gifts continue to grow. Fundraisers should encourage DAF donors to make gifts. In 2022, DAF assets reached $228.89 billion, the second-highest value on record after 2021.

3. Recruiting New Young Donors: Fundraising should include donors from younger generations, requiring the use of newer strategies to attract and engage younger donors.

4. Polarization: In recent months, many political events have influenced decisions of major gift donors to higher education, and it will continue to be a bigger issue this year, as we are in an election year. Fundraisers are aware of this and should create plans to deal with challenging conversations with donors.

5. Staff Retention: Organizations are facing challenges in retaining staff and/or filling existing vacancies. They will have to create ways to help and attract talented development professionals.

Additionally, nonprofits are familiar with other factors that might influence fundraising, such as social media and the increasing demand for transparency and accountability. Furthermore, check out the 2024 Higher Education Trend Watch by Educause, which provides more insights into what may shape the industry in the future. The number one trend listed in the Educause report is the increasing need for data security and protection against threats to personal privacy. Another one that directly impacts fundraising is the call for data-informed decision-making and reporting.

We hope these trends and insights will provide you with the information needed to refine your fundraising strategy for 2024. We wish you a highly successful 2024. 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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