Early in 2022, multiple nonprofit and philanthropy publications warned of stalled or decreased giving as a result of inflation and economic uncertainty. But just over a month ago, GivingTuesday – an annual day of fundraising that has been going strong for 10 years now – raised $3.1 billion for nonprofit organizations, up 15% over 2021 and up 25% from 2020.
Organizations that saw a decrease in donations on GivingTuesday were quick to reference inflation as the primary reason why they may have fallen short of their goals. A recent report by the donation platform Classy, however, paints a different picture. Although many Americans expressed a pessimistic view of the economy, 90% planned to donate the same or more to nonprofits in 2022. When donors were asked why they planned to give more, they cited a recent increase in passion for the cause, an increase in the need for donations, and an increased relevance of the cause.
It’s true that in an economic downturn, overall charitable giving tends to decrease. But keep in mind, there are 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States. Not all of them have a mission that consistently resonates with the general public as something that is worthy of financial support. Data shows that organizations seen as “relevant” — food banks, shelters, or other service organizations — tend to see funding increase during these same times of economic hardship. People consider their own financial abilities when making giving decisions, but they are highly motivated by events and perceived need and urgency.
What can you do to boost your organization’s fundraising efforts during times of economic uncertainty?
Because organizations that people view as “relevant” tend to experience stronger giving during times of economic crisis or uncertainty, it’s important to communicate how your mission is serving an urgent need, and why your specific organization is worthy of support. Why is now the time to give? How will donations be used? Why will financial contributions go further now than they would at another time? These are the questions that organizations need to answer in all their communications with potential donors.
What can you do if you’re noticing a decrease in financial support?
Be transparent and straightforward with your supporters. Let them know that you need their support, but don’t go overboard. Unless the doors really are about to close tomorrow, don’t make it sound like there is a crisis. People like to give to organizations that are going to stick around for a while, so let people know how you’re dealing with financial uncertainty, and why their support will be the boost you need to keep going and become stronger.
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