“Individuals today are no more generous than their predecessors were over four decades ago,” according to a new report released by Blackbaud titled Growing Philanthropy in the United States. The report outlines 32 recommendations for nonprofits on how to increase overall giving organized around the following four themes:
- Enhancing the quality of donor relationships
- Developing public trust and confidence in the sector
- Identifying new audiences, channels, and forms of giving with strong potential for growth
- Improving the quality of fundraising training and development
It’s a meaty report full of interesting information that gets the brain going. One item that has sparked quite the discussion is about why the stunt of giving exists in the first place. Jeff Shuck provides some additional insight based on a Harris Interactive Poll conducted last year (emphasis added):
We are surrounded by giving and so we forget that large numbers of people do not give at all. A Harris Interactive poll conducted late last year found that only 12% of people admit to not giving at all. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad! But ominously, the same poll found that only about a quarter of people felt ‘some responsibility to improve the world they live in.’ Wow. […] In any case, my point is that I think we’ve gotten a lot better at activating those who are charitable, but not any better at inspiring new charitableness. When one-quarter is literally carrying the weight of the world, we’ve got a big challenge on our hands.
How are you responding to this challenge?
New Relationships Lead to New Givers
As Shuck concludes in his post, addressing the problem is a matter of the head as well as the heart. To inspire new givers, we need to develop new relationships. Here are five ways you can get started:
- Participate in giving days. Giving Days have shown to be effective for inspiring new donors, especially young donors. Tomorrow, November 9, marks the first Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington. Have you gotten involved in charitable giving in the past? Take advantage of this opportunity and get involved.
- Create a follow-up plan. Developing new relationship and acquiring new donors takes time and sometimes it may even feel like a waste of time. But don’t give up! Once you create that initial relationship, think through how you provide follow-up communications. Perhaps it’s an email newsletter specifically designed for new donors that orients them with your mission and highlights ways for people to get more involved. It could also be as simple of making a follow-up phone call or sending an email.
- Explore social fundraising. Email fundraising is still king. However, social fundraising continues to increase, and people who apply social fundraising raise six times more than they would have. Social fundraising can help introduce your cause to new donors–as well as help you reach the “wired wealthy.”
- Make an effort to reach and involve younger generations. The segment of older donors is shrinking while the number of younger donors is increasing. Yet, a lot of fundraising efforts are aimed towards older generations. Engaging young givers may start with encouraging volunteerism as an initial step, but small steps towards giving can also be encouraged along the way. Refer to the 2011 Millennial Donor Report for additional insight and guidance.
Another way to develop new relationships and inspire new donors? Share “what works” with team members and colleagues. Share calling techniques, gatekeeper musts, and the best ways to prepare for potential donor meetings. Collaborating, sharing best practices, and developing a process for acquiring new donors will increase your success rate.