A Lot is Changing

The question is, what to do about it?

Every day I read at least one article or email that talks about the “change” that fundraising and philanthropy is undergoing.

The question that is almost never addressed is how nonprofits should respond to the change.

Oh sure, there are the tool hawkers that tell you they have the latest “widget” to address it.

But how can they propose something when there’s really not a true understanding of what the change actually is and the effects it may have?

Let’s try one on.

Everywhere you go you hear some variation of:

  •   The number of donors is declining
  •   People are becoming less generous
  •   Philanthropy is becoming more lopsided to the high-net-worth folks (HNW)

So, which of these is true—if any, and what are the effects on philanthropy.

My take on this one is that these are all symptoms of something that’s (almost) never mentioned.

The only thing that’s known for “sure” is that the absolute  number of active donors is experiencing a decline in recent years.  This is true despite the dollars given to philanthropy continuing to rise.

But why?

The real culprit: poor or nonexistent engagement by nonprofit organizations with their philanthropic investors (read “donors”).

Transactions have become the order of the day.

This despite the technology programs that produce faux relationships and the ubiquitous use of the term “relational philanthropy”.

The drive is for maximum efficiency.

Although the imitations are getting better, I can smell an AI generated “personal letter” from 100 yards.

When is the last time you phoned an investor and asked them how their family was doing?

The system you design yields the results you deserve.