Concerns, Encouragements and Takeaways From the Giving USA 2013 Report
In late June, the Giving USA 2013 report was unveiled across the nation, and its findings created both hope and concern among the fundraising community.
Robert Evans, founder and managing director of EHL Consulting Group, was one of four panelists at the Philadelphia unveiling of the report, and recently I spoke with Evans in further detail on what the findings mean for fundraisers moving forward.
"The results of charitable giving in 2012 showed donors still have a definite interest in supporting the nonprofit world in our country and the world, but they have done it in a relatively lackluster fashion," he says." There have been steady increases over the last three years in giving as the economy is recovering. That's the very good news. And historically, giving has been a lagging indicator in terms of recovery from a recession or depression, which is holding correct again as we come out of the great recession of 2008 and 2009."
That's the good news, but it doesn't mean fundraisers can rest on their laurels, content in the fact that giving is on the rise.
One of Evans' biggest concerns is nonprofits don't seem prepared to provide answers to the types of questions donors are now asking.
"The nonprofits of America don't seem particularly prepared or positioned to provide the vision and information that will move donors to make really good gifts," he says.
Donors these days are increasingly looking for impact and good use of their gifts. They no longer just implicitly trust that an organization will use their money wisely. They want to see it in action, how it furthers the mission and helps the cause.
"The challenge for all nonprofits is to start asking questions differently of themselves — like: What do we think it is that will really tantalize donors and show donors how they can make an impact?" Evans says. "Donors increasingly want impact on their gifts, and they're not prepared to do business as usual in terms of the types of giving that perhaps characterized the nonprofit world in the '80s and '90s.