How Current Events Impact Fundraising

As the results of the 2018 fall fundraising season have shown, unexpected real-world events can have a big impact on how donors behave.

According to the Blackbaud giving index, the nonprofit sector saw a significant downturn in online giving this past fall, especially in December. Infogroup reported seeing a 25% decline in Fall 2018, which aligns with what Wiland Data benchmarks show us and what a majority of One & All clients experienced.

Why?  Because a lot of donor uncertainty was created by a host of current events, including:

  • Changes to the tax law
  • Stock market fluctuations
  • Government shutdown
  • Increased digital saturation
  • Equal/civil rights awareness and more

What to Do When Events Interfere

Whether it’s a natural disaster or political upheaval, current events will continue to influence donor behavior, but there are tactics to help.

1. Stay the Course: Don’t cut acquisition, and continue with evergreen online digital media efforts. For example, the digital media campaigns we put into market for clients at year-end helped soften the declines that other organizations saw during that period.

2. Be Prepared: Stock your shelves with contingency campaigns for when disasters happen.



3. Turn the Event into a Reason. Make the event a reason to give. This might be helping in time of a government shutdown, as we helped many Food Bank clients do, or using the current weather to dial up the urgency, like many Missions do in hot and cold weather:



4. The Power of Thanks.

Never forget that appreciating your donors even in time of downturn can go a long way in cultivating and re-engaging them. When current events make your donors uncertain, don’t ever let them doubt the impact they make. Your stewardship letter, newsletters, impact reports and emails can all reflect that.

We’re here to help. If you need help putting together campaigns to use in reaction to big events, reach out and let’s start a conversation.