Redefining Philanthropy for 2022: 5 Strategies To Inspire Giving in a New Year
As we begin a New Year, it’s a valuable time to reevaluate our fundraising programs and set ambitious yet attainable goals to inform our work over the next 12 months. As nonprofit leaders, we must have a forward-thinking vision for the future that drives our strategic priorities while building a dynamic team and fundraising strategy.
The nonprofit landscape is one of continued growth, evolution, resiliency and responsiveness. Over the past two years, we experienced unprecedented challenges and change to the philanthropic sector from a global pandemic and the nation’s reckoning with social and racial injustice, to a polarizing political climate and dramatic employee turnover during the Great Resignation.
Yet as we navigated these challenges, we also embraced new opportunities and innovations to elevate our organizations, build stronger teams, and better serve our communities. We leveraged technology to amplify our fundraising programs and events, fostered new partnerships with nonprofit leaders and organizations to meet our mission, and took deliberate actions to make diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) a key pillar of our organizations’ culture and teams.
How can we apply our experiences and lessons learned over the past two years to position our organization and our teams for a successful 2022?
Here are five strategies to redefine philanthropy for the New Year. These actions will prepare you to build a strong culture of giving and amplify your development program as we continue to navigate a dynamic environment.
1. Develop a Case for Support that Meets the Moment
An effective case articulates an inspiring vision for an organization, provides a compelling rationale for financial support and communicates a clear articulation of impact. It is a powerful tool to tell your organization’s story and inspire donors to make a meaningful gift. Your case should not only reinforce the importance and relevancy of your mission, but also reflect the impact that the past year or more has had on your ability to carry out your vital work. Why should a donor invest in your organization, and why now?
2. Activate Board Members as Fundraising Ambassadors
Board members are a key asset to an organization’s fundraising efforts and culture of philanthropy. They build energy around your mission, engage your community in fundraising activity and provide generous financial support. Think of your board members as ambassadors of your development program. Invite them to speak at key events, host a parlor meeting or facilitate peer-to-peer solicitations to help grow your donor audience. Get to know your board members personally; building strong relationships will ensure they have meaningful experiences and remain engaged. Always remember to recognize board members for their time, energy, leadership and generosity.
3. Leverage Technology To Amplify Major Gifts Activity
The digital landscape has transformed how we connect with and engage our audience, and virtual donor engagement has become a vital element of a nonprofit’s major gifts strategy. Leverage technology as a vehicle to build meaningful relationships with donors and to cultivate, solicit and steward people in a digital world. From personal Zoom meetings to virtual events and social media, there are ample opportunities to grow and engage your major donor audience. At the same time, invest in your development systems and operations to ensure that you have the technical infrastructure to drive a high level of activity.
4. Inspire Planned Giving for a Sustainable Future
Planned gifts can provide important revenue, especially during challenging times. They also offer an opportunity for donors to act now while investing in the future of your organization. Think creatively about ways to grow your planned giving program and educate planned giving prospects on the potential benefits of their generosity. Be intentional about incorporating planned giving into your major donor conversations and consider blended gift requests. There is a tremendous opportunity for donors to leave a meaningful legacy today.
5. Create a Culture Focused on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Growth
It is critical that nonprofit leaders create an organizational culture grounded in the intentional practices of diversity, equity and inclusion and that these values and actions are reflected in an organization’s teams and fundraising program. Furthermore, we must invest in our people and culture — recruiting and developing diverse teams, offering opportunities for professional growth and creating a vibrant community where employees of all backgrounds can thrive. Make 2022 the year you recognize excellence, embrace authenticity, promote growth and celebrate wins.
Today, we stand ready to embrace new fundraising strategies for the future. Ground your organization in your mission and its relevance. Reaffirm your purpose and the positive, lasting impact that philanthropic investments will have on the communities you serve.
Together, let’s build on what we know, take action to drive progress and redefine philanthropy for the year 2022.
Elizabeth Abel is a senior vice president at CCS Fundraising and expert in philanthropy. In her role at CCS, she has led capital campaigns and development initiatives that have collectively raised half a billion dollars for education, health care, arts and culture, and advocacy organizations.
Elizabeth provides counsel on strategic planning, major gifts fundraising and board engagement. She is an Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania where she teaches “Fundraising and Philanthropy: The Donor Journey” to graduate students in the Nonprofit Leadership Program. Elizabeth has been recognized by BELLA Magazine as a “Woman of Influence in Philanthropy.”
You can find Elizabeth offering her fundraising expertise at industry conferences, on nonprofit podcasts and on social media platforms, including LinkedIn and Instagram. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, and she is an avid hiker, traveler and tea drinker.