Donor Giving Trends for Today and Tomorrow, Part 3
[Editor’s note: This is part 3 of a four-part series on the session “Trends for Tomorrow — Action Today” held at Fund Raising Day in New York. View part 1 here, and part 2 here. Check back for the fourth and final part next week.]
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.
Historically, there have been organizations that heavily lean on grants from charitable grant-making foundations. In good economic times, these organizations could thrive on such a model. But institutional giving was one of the areas most profoundly affected by the recession over the past few years, meaning competition for foundation dollars increased greatly. Nonprofits that didn’t diversify their funding streams enough have struggled to stay afloat.
“Foundations had a huge hit in investments — more than half scaled back,” Slocum said. “So what fit a few years ago may not fit today. You have to expect and prepare for shifting priorities and focuses in institutional giving.”
The good news, Slocum said, is that foundation assets are recovering, citing data from the Foundation Center. While most foundations are still cautious and corporate giving remains static, there are fewer “no new applications accepted at this time” directives, and new foundation startups are increasing. In fact, she said, there is expected to be more dollars available by more foundations in 2012. The difference is now grantmakers have reordered priorities and narrower focuses.
One thing that remains the same for organizations seeking funds from foundations is a continued reliance on relationships. With a narrower focus, grant makers will look to fund those nonprofits that they know and with which they have good relationships.