Our weekly Wednesday 9am MT/11am ET Clubhouse chats are full of robust conversation about topics within nonprofit fundraising. As always, please feel free to add and reflect on your learnings and experiences! Here are some key takeaways from our chat about what comes after a capital campaign (and/or a global pandemic!):
1. Although 2020 took all of us by surprise, giving was still at an all-time high! While there were fewer total donors than years prior, many nonprofits still saw a large amount of new donors—similar to a capital campaign. Any time you have acquired new donors, your organization needs to be thinking about long-term stewardship. What is your plan to keep new donors engaged? A good rule of thumb is to include good news, challenges, and a call to action with every communication. An annual report is a must, but I recommend going even further and sending a quarterly report. Get creative! Make it virtual!
2. Two things happened in 2020: the GDP went down—taking corporate giving down with it—and the stock market went up—allowing ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals to increase their giving as a result. For this reason, most of the giving in 2020 came from individuals whose wealth increased with the market. These are the facts. If you do not have a staff member or strategy dedicated to engaging UHNW donors, it needs to be a priority moving forward.
3. 2020 was a difficult year for all of us, but it was more difficult for the organizations that were unprepared for things to go wrong. The U.S. economy enters a recession roughly every ten years; your organization must be prepared for rough waters with an endowment, a rainy day fund, and general reserves. When the going gets tough, your supporters want to see that you have been good stewards of their donations—this requires planning for future recessions. Big donors are looking for more than just a mission, they are looking for a history of producing sustained change regardless of bumps in the road.
4. Of all giving vehicles, social media accounted for roughly 10% of giving in 2020—a 3% increase from 2019, and that number is only going up! Data shows that social media strategy is no longer an option, it is a *must*. As Millennials begin to inherit wealth from the generations above them, organizations need to shift their engagement strategies to match their tech-savvy prospects. 70% of nonprofits say they will invest more in social media in 2021. Will you be one of them?
5. As with any challenge, you should celebrate victory! Whether that victory is coming out of 2020 alive or wrapping up a massive capital campaign, be sure to take the time to celebrate, show gratitude, and allow rest before diving into your next project; don’t come to a stop (keep your eyes toward the horizon!) but do slow down for a deep breath.
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