What Giving USA Says About Giving to Your Organization
On Tuesday, the annual learnings from Giving USA were released. This is the longest-running report about charitable activity in the United States, and while it hasn't always been foolproof, it's a useful tool for understanding what is happening in the charitable world (at least the U.S. portion of it).
Among the big-picture findings, there are things that can guide your fundraising strategy for the next several months.
It's about the one, not many
While going after foundation and corporate giving is exciting and holds great promise, the reality is that 86 cents of every dollar given to philanthropy comes from individuals, according to Giving USA estimates. While your experience may be a bit different, the fact remains: Individuals in the United States are generous.
Our job as fundraisers is to build relationships with individuals and strengthen those relationships year after year. You might be growing weary of reading this, but that doesn't change the fact that retention is critical. Are you constantly thinking about ways to connect with a single donor, to communicate the impact of your program to that single person?
Corporations give differently
Giving USA estimates that half of corporate giving may be non-cash (gifts-in-kind), and 70 percent of that half is pharmaceuticals. If you're working with corporations now, that's great. If you're not, you should think about their role in your giving — but never consider them the Holy Grail.
Corporations often like to give to nonprofits in communities where they have a presence and may want to support a nonprofit that provides a way for its employees to be involved as volunteers. The takeaway here is that corporations do give, but understanding their terms is critical for success. You have to sell your case, and that won't happen unless you can align it with the corporation's charitable goals.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.