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Podcast | Welcome to Limbo Land

We’ve entered a strange transitional period — the COVID-19 pandemic is more or less over, the economy is a mixed bag, and a recession that may or may not happen. Fundraisers across the country are waiting to see what’s next.

In this episode of the Go Beyond Fundraising podcast, we’re in Limbo Land with Nicholas Hedenkamp, an Insights Consultant at Pursuant. As we look at what’s trending this year, it’s hard to know what tomorrow will bring.

Take a recent survey by Dunham + Company on donor confidence. Seventy percent of donors surveyed plan to give the same amount of money or more in 2023. While this may sound like good news, it’s actually a declining trend, down from 80% in 2021 and 76% in 2022. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed this year plan to give less in 2023 — the highest percentage in the past three years.

Another study, by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, looked at Americans’ perceptions of philanthropy. Of the 1,300 adults surveyed,

  • Fewer than 20% believe nonprofits are on the right track.
  • Only a third believe charities contribute to society.
  • Just 5% reported they or their immediate family received services from a charitable organization.

So, the question is, how do fundraising professionals convey that our work matters? Perhaps it’s time nonprofits look deeper at how they communicate their impact.

These declines mean monthly giving will continue to be a valuable source of revenue for nonprofits because it’s both repeatable and predictable. As such, these donors deserve a more personalized experience when it comes to stewardship. Find authentic ways to make them feel supported and like their gift matters.

Growing your monthly giving program will be equally important as we linger in Limbo Land. Here are some tips:

  •  Ensure you’re clearly and prominently displaying monthly giving options on your website.
  • Ensure the donation forms and buttons on your website are working.
  •  Look for ways to create a sense of community to make monthly donors feel more involved.
  • Be proactive in making sure donors’ payments and contact information are up to date.
  • Use the monthly email receipt as an opportunity to thank donors and give them updates on your organization.

One thing we know for sure is that the post-COVID nonprofit faces a slew of challenges. In general, they fall into four categories:

  1. The Weak Get Weaker: Some organizations — especially small ones — saw their existing woes deepen during the pandemic.
  2. Dream Funds Disappear: Emergency aid from the government kept some organizations afloat, but now that aid is ending.
  3. Staff Retention: Nonprofits are struggling to attract new talent, leading to staff shortages.
  4. Burnout: Fundraisers are being stretched thinner than ever, leaving them unmotivated and barely hanging on.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Listen to the full episode to see what exciting consumer trends are on the horizon:

Listen to the full episode:

Connect with Nicholas Hedenkamp

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