- New report explores critical issues facing fundraising in America
- SWOT and PESTLE analyses of US fundraising
- Eight issues explored in depth, including:
- Diversity and inclusion
- “Stagnant” giving levels
- Crisis in donor retention
- The rise of giving and fundraising through social media
- Professional standards
- Implications of recent tax reforms on charitable giving
- The Critical Fundraising (USA) Report can be downloaded from: http://bit.ly/Rogare-USA
The fundraising sector in the USA will face worsening results if it fails to invest in retaining the donors it already has.
The warning comes in a new report – the Critical Fundraising (USA) Report – published by the international fundraising think tank Rogare and launched at the AFP International Conference in San Antonio, TX, today (1 April 2019).
In one of the report’s essays, Greenville-based leadership expert Marc A. Pitman points out that nonprofits on average are losing almost six of every ten new donors. This results in nonprofits mistakenly focusing on the more expensive “donor acquisition” strategies than doing the much more cost-effective work of keeping the donors they have.
The problem, Pitman argues, is that many nonprofits are started to fix an issue, with little regard to how they will fund the work. In fact, in The Concord Leadership Group’s 2016 study of nonprofits, sixty-two percent of nonprofit leaders reported their nonprofit’s strategic plan lacked a fundraising plan.
“This retention issue could be rooted in the lack of seeing fundraising as a core component of running a nonprofit and relegating fundraising to an afterthought or a ‘necessary even.’ Rather than spending time to implement best fundraising practices, board and staff keep doing the same thing – mailings and events and ‘nagging people’ – without measuring what works.”
“The message of donor retention’s proven ability to have a disproportionate positive impact on fundraising needs to be heard by nonprofits.”
The Critical Fundraising (USA) Report was researched and compiled by a task group of Rogare’s International Advisory Panel, led by Barbara O’Reilly, CFRE, of Windmill Hill Consulting, who says:
“This Critical Fundraising Report is our perspective of key issues and trends that affect fundraising in the US. In compiling this report, we present, to the best of our ability, evidence-based information, not personal opinions, focusing on topics we believe are issues that warrant a deep analysis.
“In no way is this report meant to serve as a solution for all the key trends and issues we identified. Rather, we hope that it inspires conversation, reflection, and constructive responses to lift and strengthen the sector in the United States.”
Issues identified and explored in the CFR (USA) Report are:
- State of public trust in the nonprofit sector and the nonprofit starvation cycle – author: Barbara O’Reilly, CFRE (Windmill Hill Consulting)
- Stagnant donor retention rates and national giving levels – Marc A. Pitman, CFC (Concord Leadership Group)
- Tax reform and what it means for charitable giving – Cherian Koshy, CFRE (Des Moines Performing Arts)
- The current and anticipated fundraising talent crisis – James Green, MBA, CFRE
- Defining standards for fundraising – Heather R. Hill, CNM, CFRE (chair of the Rogare board)
- Diversity, inclusion, and gender equity – Ashley Belanger (Ashley H. Belanger Consulting)
- How data, technology and social media are affecting fundraising – T. Clay Buck, MFA, CFRE (Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada)
- The misalignment of social fundraising data sources and donor relations – Taylor Shanklin (Pursuant).
In all, the report makes 23 recommendations, including:
- Remove from donor communications all language that promotes the percentage of the donation that is allocated to programs
- Conduct more research into and develop fresh thinking on donor retention, particularly around gifts that are not intended to be renewed annually, and how relationships are measured with donors who only give sporadically
- A raft of measures to encourage inclusion at an organisational and individual level
- Develop a new set of standards for professional practice that include the levels of knowledge needed to practice as a fundraiser
- Invest more in multi-channel communications, new technologies and social engagement.
Download the Critical Fundraising (USA) Report: http://bit.ly/Rogare-USA
Ian MacQuillin, director of Rogare – says in his introduction to the report:
“The United States of America holds a special – and perhaps privileged – place in global fundraising, exerting an influence that extends much further than its 50 states. There is sometimes a sense that the ideas and practices emanating from US fundraising are world-leading ideas and practices, both from the Americans developing and promulgating these ideas, and fundraisers in the rest of the world who receive them.
“With such reach and influence, it is a good idea to be able to critically reflect on the current state of US fundraising – to look not just at what’s working, but also at what’s not working so well, where the current knowledge gaps might be and how we could fill those gaps.”
Members of the USA CFR task group will present ideas and conclusions from the report at a session – entitled ‘A critical look at fundraising in the United States’ – at AFP ICon on Monday 1 April, from 1.15 to 2.30 in room 217A.
The Critical Fundraising (USA) Report is the third in the series following the publication similar reports for Ireland and Scotland in 2017. Work is currently under way on reports for Canadian and Italian fundraising.
The Critical Fundraising (USA) Report can be downloaded from: http://bit.ly/Rogare-USA
Concord Leadership Group founder Marc A. Pitman helps leaders, especially in nonprofits, lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. He’s the author of Ask Without Fear!® – which has been translated into Dutch, Polish, Spanish, and Mandarin. He’s also the executive director of TheNonprofitAcademy.com and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank.
Marc’s expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences around the world and has caught the attention of media organizations as diverse as The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Al Jazeera, SUCCESS Magazine, and Fox News. Marc tweets regularly at @marcapitman.
He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family!