USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – March 2021

on March 24, 2021 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

We’ve all just marked one year of life during a pandemic and all of its uncertainties, stresses, and perhaps, small blessing. Like our own wellbeing, the future of fundraising depends on a number of factors such as the vaccine’s effectiveness, social and economic matters such as diversity issues, and the performance of stock markets and federal stimulus packages. This month we’d like to share a report that might give you a glimpse of what the future of philanthropy looks like, as well as findings from a survey on advancement professionals.

A recent blog post, The Outlook for Charitable Giving by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, outlines predictions for charitable giving in 2021 and 2022. Based on favorable economic conditions in 2021, there might be an increased chance of growth in philanthropy. The Lilly School is very clear that continued “uncertainty regarding health conditions” will likely lead to a less favorable outlook for giving. If there is continued economic growth, these following predictions are likely to be true for philanthropy:

  • Total giving is anticipated to rise 4.1 percent in 2021 and 5.7 percent in 2022.
  • Giving by American individuals and households is predicted to increase by 6.0 percent in 2021 and 3.9 percent in 2022.
  • Giving by foundations (community, private or family, and operating) is predicted to decline slightly by 1.0 percent in 2021 and then grow by 8.8 percent in 2022.
  • Giving by estates is predicted to increase by 1.1 percent in 2021 and by 11.9 percent in 2022.
  • Giving by corporations is predicted to increase by 4.3 percent in 2021 and by 6.4 percent in 2022.

Additionally, the Advancement Moving Forward report by Washburn & McGoldrick is here, and we’d like to share some insights from their most recent survey of fundraising professionals. This January 2021 survey is the fourth part of a series that looks at the impact of the pandemic on development operations. Based on the results, we see that there is increasing confidence among fundraising professionals in their ability to achieve FY21 fundraising goals. Sixty-five percent of respondents were confident that they would be able to achieve their goals versus seven percent who are not so confident. The top fundraising priority for the fiscal year appears to be capital projects. Financial aid and unrestricted operating funds are also considered among top fundraising priorities in the findings. The survey reveals that getting appointments with prospects and donors remains a challenge. Furthermore, the engagement process has become difficult for fundraisers, especially when prospects are in the solicitation cycle. Sixty-nine percent of respondents are having difficulty with the qualification process. Other findings in the survey indicate that many fundraising professionals are facing Zoom fatigue, are concerned about budget and staff reductions, and are recognizing the importance of self-care. Looking ahead, we need to keep momentum going with prospects and donors, create innovative ways of qualification, and build a pipeline of new prospective donors.

We would be remiss if we did not mention that March is Women’s History Month. Research by The Women’s Philanthropy Institute highlights that women’s wealth is rising. Women are more likely to give and give differently than men. As we learn about how women shape fundraising, 2021 might be a good year to re-think and evaluate fundraising processes in higher education. As always, feel free to reach out to 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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