This is the season of hope, so let me share some findings from recent studies that give me hope.
Think about that for a minute. The Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy found that 94% of wealthy families believe that nonprofits can solve the world’s problems. Such confidence in our sector! Are you maximizing that potential?
And the third biennial Bank of America Merrill Lynch study identified a “growing trend” among wealthy donors: they expect nonprofits in which they invest to be “effective and transparent.” In other words, they want us to substantiate the trust that they have already ascribed to the sector. And why wouldn’t we want to do just that? After all, trust is an enormous component of what influences people to give. Have you maximized your trust factor?
But in this economy, does this really matter? People can trust us; we can provide all the impact data that we have collected to demonstrate that we truly are making a difference, we are good stewards of our raised dollars. We can build it, but will they give in this economy?
Looking to the Convio “2010 Holiday Giving” study, the answer is yes. We just might need to work a little harder to get it. According to Convio, 74% of American adults will give in the last four to six weeks of the year. Each will give, on average, $281, for a total giving of $48.4 billion just in November and December, when approximately 30%-40% of all donations are made. (For comparison’s sake, in 2009, all US charitable giving totaled just under $304 billion.) But this isn’t going to happen without our asking.
And asking. The majority of donors—72%–will use at least two or more “channels” for their giving: mailing a check or writing one at an event; adding on a donation at checkout; buying goods directly from a nonprofit or a third party vendor where a portion of the sale price goes to a charity; or giving on line, to mention some. And for all of you who have jumped on the Facebook, Twitter, social media bandwagon, don’t count too highly on them to produce the dollars, at least not this year. Convio reports that 9% say they “might be” solicited through these social media means, but only 4% will use those means to actually give. But, without wanting to appear to stereotype, this might be the way to Generation X donors, who in giving on average almost $350, will be this year’s most generous donors!
So, let’s rattle our own sabers—this time of year and throughout 2011—and maybe instead of angst and nail biting, it will be sugar plum fairies and dancing gingerbread men for all!