AFP News

What Will Fundraising Look Like in 2019? (Part II)

crystal ball

We asked AFP members from across North America for their advice and insights on fundraising in 2019 and what they think will be the chief trends and developments over the next 12 months. Here’s what they said.

Here’s part 2 of what they said, focusing on the question:

What’s the one main thing your organization is going to be focusing on in 2019 with regards to fundraising, or what are you going to advise your clients to do? 

Read Part I

Roger Ali, MBA, CFRE, President and CEO, Niagara Health Foundation, Welland, Ontario: With a major capital campaign for a second new hospital on the horizon, my organization will be focused on campaign readiness. The focus will be training the current major gifts team and hiring for key campaign positions. Completing the Case for Support Phase I and getting input from prospective volunteers and donors will be a priority. Another area of focus is ensuring prospect identification and research on top tier donors are completed.

Scott Decksheimer, CFRE, President and CEO, The Vitreo Group, Calgary, Alberta: I am focusing on doing one or two fundraising programs very, very well, in addition to improving the stewarding and thanking.  This will set organizations apart, and those that focus on this will overachieve in every fundraising channel.

Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, Principal, Amy Eisenstein, LLC, Westfield, N.J.: This year, I’m going to focus on three things: 1. Empowering women to be better, more confident fundraisers. 2. Teaching development directors to be more effective major gift fundraisers. 3. Helping organizations take the driver’s seat in their own capital campaigns. I’m most excited about helping organizations lead capital campaigns in a completely new, cost-effective way through the Capital Campaign Toolkit. For the first time, organizations have access to all the tools, materials, and support necessary to lead a successful capital campaign, in an online platform.

Rachel Hutchisson, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy, Blackbaud, Charleston, S.C.: Blackbaud will continue to derive insights from data, sharing insights with customers and the market to be able to stay on top of what’s actually happening. We’re also very interested in delving into how corporate giving is changing as companies seek to deliver on the promise of purpose as a part of their employee engagement strategies.

Andrea McManus, CFRE, Partner, The Vitreo Group, Calgary, Alberta: My advice to clients is to plan, plan, plan.  Be strategic, be thoughtful, be intentional. Pay attention to the basics and be selective about new activities. Be sure you are digital but not at the expense of good donor relationships.

Gail Perry, International Fundraising Consultant, Fired Up Fundraising, Chapel Hill, N.C.:  I'm advising everyone three things. First, to hone their major gift prospect lists so they can focus on the right donors who love their organization. Two, forget the "pitch" and instead learn "conversational" major gift approaches to donors. Three, get their board members trained on major gift fundraising so they can support - not hinder - this hugely important effort.

Martha Schumacher, CFRE, ACFRE, MInstF (AdvDip), President and Founder, Hazen, Inc., and HILT, Washington, D.C.: Here’s what I’m counseling my clients for this year:

  • With the ongoing turbulence of the market, philanthropists may be looking to unload volatile stocks and securities. Organizations will benefit from promoting stock gifts to their donor base and prospective supporters.
  • Work closely with Donor Advised Fund (DAF) advisors and providing targeted information to the rapidly increasing number of donors using this vehicle to fulfill their philanthropic goals.
  • Spend less time on large events that are producing diminishing returns. Pivot to 1-on-1 relationship building and intimate, targeted gatherings.
  • Increase the amount of time spent on donor/funder/partner stewardship, even if incrementally.
  • For organizations newer to major gift fundraising, identify your current top 20 donors and create individual plans for each.

Mazarine Trezy, CEO, Wild Woman Fundraising, Portland, Ore.: I am advising my clients to focus on building a cash reserve, just in case a variety of factors come to a head (such as the government shutdown stretching for months, the tax law change causing donors to give less, as well as the economic downturn that everyone is predicting in the next year, and the subsequent stock market downturn that will cause donors to have less to give as their investments decline). I am also advising my clients to look into building earned income streams that are not dependent on donors.

Lynne Wester, Founder and Principal, Donor Relations Guru, Austin, Texas: I advise my clients to see fundraising differently, not as a series of transactions and reactions but a lifelong relationship that changes, ebbs and flows. In addition, I want them to see that their donor base isn't what it used to be in terms of demographics, and that one size never fits all. It takes a process of getting to know our donors, being flexible and adapting to them to drive our fundraising forward. That at the end of the day, behind every gift is a generous soul longing to know the impact of their support and to be genuinely thanked for it. Just because you've always done something is not a reason why, and we need to get better at the science and art of our relationship-driven profession. The donor who has given to you ten consecutive years is as important or more important than the one that comes by and gives you one larger gift. Generosity isn't about capacity, it's about the soul.

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