State of the Sector
Editor’s Note: What’s changed in the fundraising landscape over the past year, and what’s ahead for fundraisers in 2008? To find out, we hosted a virtual roundtable with four fundraising professionals whose names you probably know. Below, you’ll find highlights of our e-chat. If you’d like to suggest a topic for future e-chats, please let us know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Margaret: Can each of you give me three words that you feel describe “where we are” in fundraising in the U.S. right now?
Kurt: Internet, Internet, Internet.
Roger: Shifting … growing … donor-centric.
Polly: Challenging, fragmented, moving fast!
Jo: Must. Make. Changes.
Margaret: Great … a lot of diversity in those answers. Roger … how do you define that growth?
Roger: Fewer donors, but larger gifts from donors. More net money.
Roger: This year was the first year that we’ve seen a decline in the number of donors in the U.S. But the net income to nonprofits rose.
Kurt: The world is operating at Web speed, and our sector isn’t. The ’net has been there, but have we caught up to it? Do we know the impact of Facebook on our potential growth? I’m not seeing it with my clients.
Polly: Loyal donors are getting fewer, but they are giving more. Organizations need to take care of these donors and perhaps invest more money to build on those relationships.
Roger: Partly this is due to the Internet and the so-called user-generated activity of the social networks.
Roger: And partly due to the generational change where the baby boomers are far more selective and therefore give more to fewer causes.
Margaret: Doesn’t this fly in the face of what seemed to be the predominant thinking not that long ago … more donors, more donors, more donors?
Roger: That thinking, I hope, went out long ago, but perhaps not.