One of the direct takeaways from the 2019 Giving USA Report was provided by Nonprofit Quarterly following an interview with Dr. Patrick Rooney from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Most nonprofits will have to work harder in 2019.
Giving in 2019 thus far is down across the nation. Many organizations find themselves determining what “work harder” looks like at a difficult time of year. The year-end giving season is imminent.
For those following a fiscal calendar, 2020 budget planning is in session. I am certain some derivative of the following statement is being spoken in board rooms, fundraising committees, and budget planning meetings across the nation: “Let’s plan conservatively.” Whether in reference to revenue or spending, that phrase creates boundaries. We limit what we intend to raise for fear we’ll miss the mark. We limit what we spend for fear we’ll lose what we have. Planning conservatively may require a nonprofit to “work harder,” but it will be working against itself.
Somewhere amidst the fear-mongering and hunkering down, there will be organizations who take a different approach, a fierce approach. Rather than focus on protecting, they will focus on producing. While the conservative gain interest on their bank balance, the fierce will gain interest in their campaign. When others are increasing their fundraising appeals, the fierce will innovate new approaches. There is a risk in either mindset, but only one promises new possibilities.