USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – November 2023

on November 5, 2023 by Micaela Cameron
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News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Welcome to November’s Fundraising Talks. We are getting closer to the holidays and the season of giving. Giving Tuesday, which is on November 28 this year, is just a few weeks away. Statistics from last year’s Giving Tuesday show that giving on this day reached a record high as U.S. donors gave an estimated $3.1 billion. Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for institutions to encourage philanthropic support from donors whose support will likely result in a successful year-end fundraising campaign. Even though we see some signs of optimism from the current economic state such as low unemployment and an increase in gross domestic product, people are spending less due to inflation and rising interest rates. For development professionals, this does not provide a clear picture on how philanthropic activities might turn out in the future and causes uncertainty regarding the charitable giving behaviors of donors.

Data from The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s survey provides more details on how fundraisers feel about the current and future philanthropic landscape. The Chronicle surveyed 1,000 fundraisers to analyze how they feel about giving in the first nine months of 2023, especially during uncertain economic conditions. The Chronicle’s data shows that donations of over $1 million were significantly down in the first nine months of 2023 compared to 2022. “The total value of these donations declined roughly by half year-over-year, and the number of gifts dropped, too.” Some of the highlights from the fundraising survey results are:

  • There is some anxiety related to the giving pattern of donors. Most are confident that they are likely to meet fundraising goals for the year, but they are noticing that donors are giving less or not giving at all, while some are delaying gifts.
  • 42 percent of fundraisers reported that their nonprofits raised roughly the same amount as last year.
  • 70 percent said that donor giving is negatively affected by economic uncertainty.
  • 47 percent stated that their organizations are making moderate adjustments in fundraising strategies to respond to current economic conditions, while 10 percent made major adjustments.
  • 54 percent reported that they are facing challenges in filling open fundraising positions, and 45 percent reported that they are working longer hours to make up for vacant positions.

Despite economic conditions, we should continue to cultivate relationships with donors and keep asking for support. Implementing newer strategies such as connecting with new groups of donors or connecting with wealth advisers to identify DAF donors, might be helpful. Instead of being worried about a lack of donors, development professionals should continue to use tactics to maintain up-to-date data and analyze it to discover new opportunities during economic uncertainty. We wish you the best on your Giving Tuesday efforts and have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. 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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