10 Troubling Observations about the State of Fundraising Today

The resiliency of fundraising teams has been tested over the past few years; thankfully, organizations were able to adapt despite tremendous uncertainty. However, based on data from the Blackbaud Fundraiser Performance Management™ Community, ten concerning trends have emerged from this time as well.

Your job is to understand how these challenges apply to your organization and ensure that you have a strategy to counter them.

1. Major gift donors are a scarce commodity

75% of the benchmark group’s constituents have given less than $100 cumulatively in their lifetime.

2. Your largest donors are getting older

Donors are getting older and the time between identification and realization is getting longer.

3. Constituents begin wealth creation early

Wealthy constituents begin to emerge in their mid-30’s and giving tends to peak in the mid 60’s to mid-70’s which leaves a critical gap of space where money could be left on the table.

4.  Fundraisers gravitate to known donors

Nearly 80% of the 350K assigned prospects in the benchmark group have never been visited.

5. There’s a disinvestment in activity outside of major giving

There has been a 29% decrease in spending on annual giving & alumni relations.

6. Outcomes don’t scale with spending

The 380% increase in spending on major giving only equates to a 5% increase in major gifts per fundraiser.

7. Leadership overestimates the role of fundraisers

46% of major donors were contacted within only 90 days before their major gift—implying limited gift officer influence for these gifts.

8. Management practices are lacking

Most relationship managers in the benchmark group are struggling to meet their visit goals; 2 out of 3 are not making even 1 visit per week.

9. Giving vehicles of top donors are in flux

Major donors are moving their assets into specialized philanthropic vehicles, which present risk to the traditional constituent/institution relationship.

10. “Next Gen” philanthropy is here

With five generations living and working together today, there are new philanthropic trends emerging. This could be a disrupter to traditional fundraising.

Use these observations to challenge existing practices and establish the next evolution of fundraising. If there was ever a perfect time to decide what to enhance, what to reinvent, and what to eliminate, now is that time.

Source: The data contained in this infographic is from the Blackbaud Fundraiser Performance Management community of about 150 institutions.

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