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The Atlas of Giving provides monthly reports of the state of giving in the nonprofit sector. May’s report bears news that nonprofits cannot ignore.

According to Atlas of Giving, “charitable giving will fall well short of the gains experienced in 2015 as wild market swings and economic uncertainty challenge fundraising results for many U.S. charities.”

In May’s Atlas of Giving report, it’s estimated that US nonprofits are not likely to get anywhere near the solid 4.6 percent increase in giving that occurred in 2015.

Atlas of Giving Says Nonprofits Will Feel the Pain of a Weakened Market in 2016

Charities can expect that charitable giving will range from a decline of 0.9 percent to 1.4 percent increase. 2016’s first quarter brought little movement.

The primary reason for the plateaued numbers is a volatile stock market. According to Atlas of Giving CEO Rob Mitchell “That volatility — along with uncertainty surrounding the Presidential election — has prompted many donors to hold back on giving.”

“We’re dealing with some gathering clouds that could escalate into a perfect storm for some charities,” Mitchell said. “We have seen extreme stock market swings, and a wild presidential race that is attracting attention and money. Add in other issues such as a lowered GDP forecast and a downturn in church giving, and you end up with an uncertain climate for fundraisers.”

According to Mitchell fundraisers need to adjust their expectations and approach: “The slow start and weak forecast are a wake-up call to fundraisers and nonprofits.”

How does Mitchell suggest that’s done? “Sometimes, simply sharing an awareness of an issue that’s weighing on the mind of a donor will help build trust and open a useful conversation,” Mitchell said. “So, for instance, a fundraiser paying attention to trends in oil prices can adjust strategies and outreach for different populations within their donor base accordingly. That might mean offering donors some alternative and creative ways they can continue supporting causes that are important to them.”

Mitchell makes a great point that our approach to fundraising must constantly be tweaked depending on not only who our audience is but also what they’re experiencing at any given time.

In our next Pursuant webinar on Tuesday May 24, Chris Taft is going to unpack how you can move your dedicated social media fans to fundraising partners. There is no better time than now to learn how to maximize one of your most low-cost avenues of reaching your donors: social media. Register here for Extend Your Reach: Turn Passionate Social Media Fans into Fundraising Partners.