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020515 atlas of giving

According to a recent article by the Atlas of Giving, experts predict a 3.2 percent decline in charitable contributions during 2015. What does that mean in real dollars? It points to a decrease of $14.65 billion dollars with the largest decrease expected to be in the faith sector.

How can organizations reach more donors and raise more money in 2015?

Here are three suggestions:

1. Look for ways to improve donor prioritization. Donors want to know how organizations align with their personal values before they offer their support. With more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, the competition for donor dollars is great. We must become smarter in how we approach fundraising. Organizations are constantly looking for ways to share stories that will inspire people to give. But are you sharing those stories with the right people? We should always strive to reach more donors, but reaching the right donors, those with the greatest capacity and interest to give, is key to raising more dollars.

Download Balancing the Art and Science of Fundraising to learn how your organization can ensure the time, energy, and effort that you spend engaging donors provides the greatest return on your investment.

2. Develop a targeted strategy for engaging donors at every level differently. One approach to fundraising doesn’t work for every segment of the population. People who have never given must be approached with a strategy that is significantly different from the one used to engage high capacity donors. This might be a new way of thinking for many nonprofit leaders.Successful retail organizations understand the importance of managing customer expectations throughout the purchasing process, and they go to great lengths to meet or exceed those expectations. But, few nonprofits pay the same attention to the donor lifecycle. We need to take a lesson from other brands and for-profit companies.

Check out What Customer Lifecycle Management Can Teach Us about Fundraising and discover how you can better connect your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy and effectiveness using lessons learned from some of today’s leading retailers.

3. Build smarter approaches to how we retain and upgrade donors. This is one area where many nonprofits miss the mark. There are so many tools available to help them understand their donors and their engagement with them. Yet, those tools often go unused. Effectively managing the donor pipeline can be challenging for even the most seasoned fundraising professionals. There are proven methodologies and metrics that can empower your nonprofit’s efforts and ultimately yield greater results in donor retention and revenue. But where do you start?

In Managing a Powerful Donor Pipeline: 4 Strategic Steps to Upgrade Donors and Increase Fundraising Results, we address the factors that affect the quality of you donor pipeline. Effective nonprofit leaders must understand how to acquire, retain, prioritize, and engage new and existing donors. Though the strategic effort and effective interpretation of data, nonprofit leaders can gain a clearer understanding of the donors they serve and discover how they can partner together to achieve their mutual goals.

All of the signs point to hard times ahead for many nonprofits. We believe, however, that the effective engagement of new and existing donors will provide a healthy present and future.

Although the Indiana University Lily School of Philanthropy predicted a 4.8 percent increase in giving in 2015, we’ve found from experience that the Atlas of Giving has proven to be a more accurate forecasting model for philanthropic giving. Here is an article that depicts some of the differences between the two resources if you want to learn more about our reasoning to follow the Atlas of Giving report.