Have You Made Your Fundraising Predictions for the Balance of 2020?
In a typical year, it is relatively easy to make fundraising predictions for the year. You simply look at historical trends, evaluate the environment ahead and examine your current success. Your goal is to seek to predict short-term outcomes for the rest of the calendar year. When I decided to predict the next three months' revenue in 2020, I knew it would not be easy because of unpredictable factors in this calendar year.
For example, an Inside Higher Ed article provided a survey that warned of a dramatic decline in fundraising for the balance of 2020 in the higher education sector. This survey queried 110 advancement professionals about current revenue projections in June. The survey said 40% of colleges are projecting a 10% or larger decline in fundraising revenue in 2020 and steeper declines of double-digit revenue is likely for fiscal 2021. Major gifts are likely to be hit harder than smaller contributions. Colleges are facing financial pressure on all fronts because of the pandemic.
A Nuveen article provided 10 predictions concerning the rest of the year that could affect fundraising revenue. These are:
- The U.S. and world may experience a sharp but short recession with noticeable recovery before year-end.
- Inflation could end the year above 2% as the Federal Reserve stays on hold through the election.
- The yield on the 10-year Treasury will close the year above 1%.
- Earnings are expected to recover by the end of the year.
- Stocks, bonds and cash will all return less than 5% for only the fourth time in 25 years.
- The value of the dollar is sagging, and massive U.S. deficits are also acting as a drag on the economy.
- Financials, technology and health care are outperforming utilities, energy and materials in the second half of 2020.
- Active equity managers are outperforming their indexes for the first time in a decade.
- The cold wars within the U.S. and between China and the U.S. continue.
- The U.S. concludes a tumultuous political year with an election that could represent a significant change in the government’s tax and regulatory policies going forward.
According to an Association of Fundraising Professionals article involving a survey of over 850 fundraisers, more than half of the charitable organizations in the U.S. are expecting to raise less money in 2020 than 2019 and believe this trend will continue in 2021. Giving is uneven across sectors, with human service organizations being the most optimistic subsector and larger charities seem to be doing better than smaller charities.
Over 80% of the survey respondents noted they are now focusing on donor retention and stewardship activities, with 78% of the respondents intensifying efforts in social media, online and virtual events. Many fundraising professionals are still working from home and are focusing on communication, fundraising and new ways to generate funds as typical activities continue to be delayed.
As we look ahead to the need of the remaining three months in 2020, a U.S. News article noted that many charities are paying for elections this year. Well-funded nonprofits are donating hundreds of millions of dollars to help federal, state and local officials run elections during the pandemic. This is considered a sudden infusion of private cash in what was once considered a core government function. This involvement raises questions about donor transparency, motivations and accountability.
Nonprofit monies have been used, for example, to aid a variety of activities including the acquisition of voting equipment, protective gear and securing staff needed to adjust to mail in voting increases expected this year. One question for this particular year: Are funds being used in the most effective manner to meet the most-needed priorities?
Fast Company suggested what fundraising professionals should be doing between now and December 31: increase donations. A study by CAF America found that 73% of organizations have seen a decline in contributions this year.
To make fundraising success happen in the last months of 2020, nonprofits must be thoughtful, agile and forward-thinking. They must take these important steps going forward in 2020 to end this year on the most positive note, as noted by Fast Company:
- Build trust with donors in October.
- Inspire donors in November.
- Convert donors to dollars in December.
- Thank stakeholders in January.
The inspiration for me to write this article was a phone call I received a few days ago. I received a phone call from a 92-year-old prospect. He said, “I get a feeling your organization may be short of funds this year. I will send you a check soon.” That gesture not only touched my heart, but stimulated me to better prepare and focus on these final three months.
Have you made your fundraising predictions for your organization for the balance of 2020 yet? If so, what plans do you have to make success a reality?
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.