Summary: In today’s podcast episode, Jeff Brooks from Jeff Brooks Fundraising and Stephen Halasnik from Financing Solutions discuss fundraising forecasting for nonprofits post-pandemic. Knowing these nonprofit fundraising tips will help you overcome any type of economic uncertainty and help boost donations.
What Was Fundraising in 2020 and How is it Going to Change?
It may look like everything is getting back to normal at least in the United States. The pandemic is still affecting the world and isn’t even close to being over in some parts of the world. Some countries such as Ethiopia aren’t expecting vaccinations until the fall of 2023. As a result, the fundraising forecast for nonprofits throughout the world is going to change significantly.
There were two worlds in fundraising. One world did not raise money out of fear of upsetting the donors so they didn’t raise any money. 2020 showed a very small growth year when you look at the statistics. However, every organization Jeff worked with had a record-breaking year so it doesn’t add up. In the other world, some organizations stayed active during the pandemic. They raised far more than the normal amount of money. Donors came together and gave more during the pandemic than normally. There were a lot of new donors and donors that also upgraded how much money they gave. This made organizations come up with new fundraising ideas during covid.
With things changing and the pandemic going away, there is starting to be a drop in fundraising forecast compared to last year. Even though there’s a drop in fundraising it is still not back to normal so the sense of urgency isn’t gone. Jeff thinks it’ll eventually drop back down to normal and possibly even below normal.
Age was a big factor in fundraising for nonprofits during the pandemic. Older people tended to be less impacted financially than the younger demographic because their income stayed the same if they were retired. The people who were impacted were lower age and lower-income who lost jobs. That is a big reason why donors kept giving because there was very little impact for them to keep giving.
Coworkers in Fundraising and Online Revenue
Only the fundraising manager and fundraising consultant realize when fundraising should go up or down due to the stock market. Fundraising and the dow have a positive correlation so they should go hand and hand when people want to fundraise for a cause. Coworkers who catch on the quickest are people who watch their online revenue.
Online revenue surged dramatically over the past year. In 2019, 9% of revenue came in online for nonprofit organizations. In 2020, online charitable giving surged by 20-30% which was record-breaking, it never happens. Online revenue has gone up by a meaningful amount and it is going to stay up. This means a lot of donors have either diversified or switched how they give online.
Three Things to be Concerned With Funding Forecast:
The fundraising forecast in the post-pandemic is going to have problems organizations might have to deal with. The top issue to be concerned with is fundraiser burnouts in organizations. Fundraiser burnout is a real thing and that especially happened as a result of the past year. Organizations are very tired because of the tough busy year they had to endure. People have been remote doing even more work during the pandemic without any rest or vacations. Organizations are also understaffed being overworked and that is a big part of why burnouts happen. Burnout is a huge problem especially because of the pandemic and is definitely something executive directors or a nonprofit board of directors has to be concerned with.
The second thing to be concerned with is the fundraising forecast in the digital market. Can organizations also serve people online at the same time? There are a lot of nonprofit fundraising websites that have a confusing layout that makes it confusing to donate. Social media is a big part of the online market and people are not seeing what organizations are posting because it is not interesting enough.
Lastly, the demographic in the coming years is a real issue. The older generation of donors is being taken over by boomers. The older generation that’s been donating for years is passing. There aren’t people in meaningful numbers below the age of 55 donating that can drive the organization of growth. Raising money online pushes the average age down to the 60s or upper 50s.
How to Fix Those Fundraising Concerns
There are ways to fix those concerns and have a better fundraising forecast in the future. There are two ways to fix fundraising burnout. Number one, If it was a great year there should be more hiring. If this can’t be done, outsourcing is something else that can be done. Number two, there needs to be better leadership at the organization. There need to be fundraising strategies in place for leadership as well. These elements should be incorporated to prevent any type of burnout from even happening.
Fundraising online is growing rapidly and more people are donating online in recent years. When it comes to digital marketing, there has to be a fundraising plan in place to benefit the future fundraising forecast. The fundraising goal is to make progress and get outside help without being intimidated by how big the job is. Just like with burnouts, outsourcing can help a lot with the digital aspect of nonprofits. Get more out of the employees in the organization and make them step up for the job.
The age demographic is definitely affecting the fundraising forecast rapidly. The main thing about being ready for the next generation is to keep your eyes open. Direct mail donation response rates have decreased and it has become more difficult because of printing costs. For that fact, digital marketing must be utilized even more because it’s more affordable, and more donors are already used to digital. There should be more interactions with people online along with more gifts. This stems from direct mail but directly translates to the online world once they get familiar with the organization
Small Fundraising Changes For The Transition to the Digital World
If the changes can’t be done all at once, they can be done in small increments along the way that can still affect the fundraising forecast. One thing that can be done is to get donors’ email addresses. Always include a fundraising campaign that is email-oriented along with the direct mail piece. It is a simple way to be online and offline at the same time. Take the investment from the offline fundraising and put it online. This gives you data and donors who want to give online as well as better donor relationships.
Even though digital is the future in the fundraising forecast, direct mail hasn’t gone away so you cant switch to online exclusively. There is more engagement in direct mail but there is a tradeoff with online because low engagement is more affordable with online. It is ideal to have both online and direct mail donors. Online donors give more time than people that use direct mail because it is easier to give online. Online also allows there to be more of a subscription-based donation than direct mail. Online markets are more efficient because it gives you a higher engagement and gift value.
About the Guest Jeff Brooks, from Jeff Brooks Fundraising
Jeff has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years. He has worked with organizations around the world and has served in many charity sectors, including international development, health organizations and hospitals, social services, faith-based, and arts and culture. He blogs at the popular Future Fundraising Now blog and is the author of three books: The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications, The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand, and How to Turn Your Words into Money. He lives in Seattle.
About The Host Stephen Halasnik, Financing Solutions
Stephen Halasnik is the host of the popular, The Nonprofit MBA Podcast. The Nonprofit MBA podcast’s purpose is to help nonprofit leaders. Mr. Halasnik is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Financing Solutions. Financing Solutions is a leading provider of Lines of Credit to nonprofits and small businesses.
Mr. Halasnik is a graduate of Rutgers University and has an Executive Masters from the MIT Birthing of Giants Entrepreneurship program. Mr. Halasnik is a best-selling Amazon author and is considered a leading authority on building great, purpose-driven businesses. Mr. Halasnik lives in New Jersey with his best friend, his wife Gina. Mr. Halasnik’s number one purpose is raising his two boys, Michael and Maxwell, to be good men.
About Financing Solutions Nonprofit Line of Credit
Financing Solution’s nonprofit financing product is a great alternative to a traditional bank line of credit or an SBA loan for nonprofits/businesses because it costs nothing to set up, nothing until used, and when used, is inexpensive. The credit line requires no collateral and no personal guarantees.
Please feel free to fill out the no-obligation, 2-minute nonprofit line of credit application here. The time to set up a credit line is when you don’t need it so that it is ready to be used, just in case.
Note: Financing Solutions donates 10% of its profits to various nonprofit charities