For our final post of 2020, we have lots of great information. Recently, we spent time with Paul D’Alessandro. He’s the founder of High Impact Nonprofit Advisors. Paul’s also been one of the top fundraisers in the U.S., raising more than $1 billion. So, we decided to sit down with him and chat about what he sees as the future of fundraising. As you probably guessed, a lot is going on in the sector, and fundraisers should prepare.
Also, in case you missed any of our earlier webinars, you could check them out below. In each fundraising article, you’ll find how to get your free access to all the webinar content. It includes the webinar recording, audio, and PDF. So make it a point to catch up on your reading and listening if you have any downtime soon.
- Nonprofit Grants [Webinar] What You Need to Know
- Giving Tuesday 2020: What You Need to Know
- Social Media Analytics for Nonprofits
- Google for Nonprofits: How to Do Ads
For our discussion with Paul about the future of fundraising, get all the information by clicking the button below!
Adjust Your Fundraising Expectations
As you’ll see in the key takeaways from the future of fundraising webinar with Paul, he’s got a couple of ideas he thinks are necessary for nonprofit leaders.
1. Create a 6 to 12 Month Reserve
If you work in the nonprofit sector, then you may know that most charities are small. Moreover, they don’t have operating revenue to get them past a month or two. Unfortunately, the pandemic of 2020 hurt the nonprofit sector, but it wasn’t because of a decrease in donations. Instead, many nonprofit teams and fundraisers lost their jobs. Many people may not realize it, but nonprofits operate with meager margins. Any unexpected event could cause severe damage. So, as a nonprofit leader, you have to ensure your organization’s financial viability by creating a reserve fund.
2. Reconsider Your Funding Priorities
Fundraisers want to raise money for innovative programs. In fact, creativity is a great fuel for fundraising at any time. However, what we learned during the pandemic is that perhaps not everything is a great idea. Sometimes, programs get created because a major donor wants to see funds flow toward a particular program or outcome. Still, if the program team had a chance, they would instead redirect funds toward another area. With competition in the philanthropic sector coming from corporations and social enterprises, nonprofits have to think of their programs. Essentially, it’s vital to focus on areas with maximum impact.
3. Don’t Believe Everything You Read
While technology is great, it also brings social challenges. For instance, social media has brought great things for communicating and keeping up with friends and family. But, it’s also brought problems. Many people don’t like or appreciate that social networking platforms only feed them what the algorithms learn they prefer to see. In short, AI figures out your preferences, and the groups, pages, and people you see on your feed tend to have the same ideas as you. What’s more, AI is powerful enough to spread misinformation. So, understand that you can’t always believe what you read or see. Be critical!
The Fundamentals for Fundraising Can’t Be Missed
Paul has worked in the philanthropic sector for a long time. And, he believes that donors underwrite what they help write. In other words, donors support the programs and causes that involve them. He also thinks that donors lead the philanthropic sector. Many fundraising professionals also believe it, which is why they often talk about donor-centric philanthropy.
Nonprofit leaders have to understand that without the donor, their organization doesn’t exist. So, it’s crucial to place your supporters front and center. Some questions you want to ask yourself include the following. Does your fundraising team each have prospect portfolios to keep them accountable? Do you have a donor prospect pipeline to counterbalance annual attrition? What tools do you use to research capacity? There are excellent tools available powered by AI, such as boodle.ai and Gravyty.
What’s In Store for Fundraising?
Paul is launching a book soon about the future of fundraising, so make sure to keep an eye out for it on his site. However, we wondered what he thought were some of the topics nonprofit leaders had to keep in mind about the future of fundraising.
In his opinion, artificial intelligence and technology are upending the philanthropic sector. For instance, AI is boosting the ability to rank and prioritize prospects in fundraising screenings. Moreover, segmentation is a thing of the past when AI could customize letters entirely for every donor, not just segments or groups. Virtual and augmented realities allow for a wholly immersive and unique way for nonprofits to approach donors and have them experience things to get more connected with an organization’s mission.
Also, other donor vehicles are becoming much more mainstream, such as donor-advised funds. Contributors are also much more open to making a return on investment with impact investing, and of course, there’s always giving directly (with no nonprofit in the middle) through blockchain.
In sum, a lot of disruption is already taking place, precipitated further by events occurring in 2020. So, if you want to listen to what Paul had to say in full, check out the webinar.
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