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Donor Uncertainty and its Impact on Nonprofit Giving



As the new year begins, nonprofits are preparing for the next season of fundraising. Over the last three years, donors have contributed unprecedented amounts of money to nonprofits. There are storm clouds, however, on the horizon. Uncertainty about the economy and rising interest rates have disrupted financial markets, which in turn has the potential to impact giving adversely.

Even before the recent economic turbulence, individual donors and foundations had begun to look for more evidence of impact from the organizations they support. As donations have increased, so has the donors’ desire to fund organizations that are creating the greatest impact. They want to see more tangible evidence of impact and the absence of data has often led them to question how much of an impact an organization is having. This process has also led donors to feel less confident about the organizations they support, and the amount of support they provide.

Donor uncertainty can make it difficult for nonprofits and board members to help secure donations. It can be devastating when resources are stretched thin due to inflation-related issues, such as economic hardship or reduced volunteerism levels. Therefore, organizations must devise strategies to combat donor uncertainty while running effective fund-raising campaigns.

Nonprofits can manage this increasing uncertainty by effectively communicating their impact. Here are some thoughts to help you and your team get started.

  • Use personal stories to make sure your message resonates with your target audience

  • Utilize video content or leverage social media platforms as a means of getting creative with your messaging

  • Use analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Facebook Insights to track donation patterns

  • Take advantage of crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe or Kickstarter

  • Provide incentives like special rewards for donating at certain levels

  • Offer multiple donation options (e.g., one-time donations vs. monthly recurring donations)

  • Recognize donors and connect their contribution to impact

As we kick off 2023, it is crucial that nonprofits and their board members are aware of donor uncertainty. By utilizing creative messaging strategies, taking advantage of digital tools & platforms, offering incentives & rewards, and following up appropriately with donors after they have made their contribution, organizations will be well-positioned to maximize their fundraising efforts this new year!

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