Donor Giving Trends for Today and Tomorrow, Part 1
[Editor's note: This is part 1 of a four-part series on the session "Trends for Tomorrow — Action Today" held at Fund Raising Day in New York. Check back next week for part 2.]
A key facet to successful fundraising is studying donor trends and understanding how best to act on them — in the short and long term. At the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater New York Chapter's Fund Raising Day in New York, four fundraising experts discussed donor giving trends and what they mean for fundraisers.
In the session "Trends for Tomorrow — Action Today," fundraising pros Margaret Holman, president of Holman Consulting; consultant Kathryn Slocum; Harry Lynch, CEO of Sanky Communications and SankyNet; and moderator Marilyn Hoyt, a nonprofit consultant, shared donor trends in individual giving, institutional giving and online giving, and what nonprofits can take away from those trends.
The big picture
Hoyt began by laying out the big frame around the fundraising landscape. She said giving comes from investment earning (major donors, foundations and corporate foundations, estates and planned gifts) and current earnings (individuals who feel secure about their incomes, corporations and businesses).
But ultimately, "people give to people," Hoyt said, so you must understand the people from whom you're trying to solicit money.
Right now, 75 million baby boomers are passing through the ages of 50-65, making them prime candidates for consistent giving, Hoyt said. Many of them have completed or are about to complete many major life expenses such as paying off homes and their children's education, etc., and at the same time, they're still earning money. Now is the time they're thinking about giving back. Among this demographic:
- Participation in foundations is growing.
- Active volunteer numbers are growing.
- These boomers are most likely to give major and planned gifts to nonprofits with which they have longer relationships.
So right now, baby boomers are entering the prime giving age, meaning a large pool of donors to target.