A Philanthropic New Year Is on the Horizon—Will It Be a Happy One?
Many of us are working very hard to close the 2018 calendar year on a positive fundraising note. With Christmas coming quickly, many of us are already looking to the next year. If possible, get a little rest between Christmas and the new year. I do not have a crystal ball, but I am very interested in what may happen in 2019. I wonder if we will have a Happy New Year?
Galaxy Digital, in its article “Nonprofit Trends for 2019: Your Philanthropic Outlook,” notes that there are many unknowns that affect future charitable giving. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for example, has generated speculation from those nonprofits that rely on itemized tax deductions to boost donor incentive. To prepare for 2019, note the following scenarios: monthly giving is on the rise; you may have to change the way you are asking for funds by identifying needs and shifting the focus from the past to the present; companies are recognizing the benefits of focusing on their employees’ philanthropic interest; and the focus is shifting from short-term reactionary disaster giving to a long-term strategic focus. It is important to remain abreast of public sentiment to philanthropy.
The Philanthropy News Digest’s “Outlook for 2018-19 Charitable Giving Mixed, Report Finds” states that the charitable giving landscape is likely to see significant changes over the next two years driven by the combined effects of new tax legislation and macroeconomic conditions, according to a report from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and consulting firm Marts & Lundy.
The report assumes tax law change will negatively impact philanthropy in the next year. The increase in the standard deduction will reduce tax incentives for giving among non-itemizers. The report’s high-growth scenario project’s strong growth in personal income, net worth and consumption that will help offset the dampening effect on individual giving. Conversely, overall improvements in the economic environment will likely boost charitable giving, according to Dr. Una Osili, Associate Dean for Research at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The report also notes that each year a variety of complex conditions influence charitable giving. The report is informational and makes no guarantees about the accuracy of predictions made. That said, a variety of dependent variables and independent variables were used to determine possible outlooks soon.
Galaxy Digital, in a blog titled “Nonprofit Trends for 2019: Your Technology Outlook,” indicates that technology is changing how nonprofits operate. Noteworthy trends that can help prepare you for an uncertain future are:
- Personalize user experience with the right software tools.
- Storytelling is as important as ever—look for nonprofit impact to evaluate organizational health.
- In 2019, consider creating a plan to gather meaningful qualitative and quantitative data.
- Embrace video because viewers absorb 95 percent of a video message compared to 10 percent absorption when formatted in plain text.
- Say goodbye to home phones and increase online giving appeals.
- People still use email.
- Social media may take a back seat—be ready to use a multifaceted channel approach. Take the time to use technology to tell stories, foster engagement and improve productivity.
According to CNBC’s blog, “Goldman Sachs on 2019: Raise Cash, Get Defensive and Look Out Below If More Tariffs Happen,” Goldman Sachs is not feeling very bullish about stocks in 2019. It says the S&P 500 will rise just 5 percent to 3,000 by year-end of 2019. Stocks will return 7 percent, T-Bills will return 3 percent and Treasury’s will return 1 percent in 2019. The market could be in for big trouble from tariffs. Investors may begin to worry about a recession in 2020.
People always say Happy New Year to begin the next calendar year. Even if you work in a fiscal year, Jan. 1 affects your mental outlook and should provide hope for the future. Many factors influence giving as we all know. The positive attitudes and perceptions of potential donors and donors depend on a variety of factors, inside and outside our control.
While I do not have a crystal ball, if you had a boat on the sea, potentially prepare for a choppy and uncertain upcoming year. Be ready for headwinds and seek to control what elements you can control. Only time will tell if 2019 is truly a Happy New Year!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.