Why is fundraising revenue shrinking?

Is the big fundraising pie getting smaller?

It seems like it is, at least to some people.

The general downward trend in donors and revenue, with the exception of a big pandemic uptick for many organizations, is almost relentlessly down.

But not for everyone. Some organizations are growing.

What’s the difference between those caught in the trend and those flying free from it?

Read about it in this LinkedIn post by Mark Philips.

Mark looked at individual donor fundraising for a lot of organizations between 2016 and 2022. Adjusted for inflation, a lot of those organizations have income sown 40% or more.

That’s gotta hurt.

But he also found organizations that were up during the same period. Some of them WAY up.

What were the causes of plummeting donor revenue? Here’s what Mark says:

  1. Branding that focuses on visual and descriptive elements and ignores the experience of being a supporter.
  2. An unbalanced supporter portfolio where recruitment has failed to engage the donors who have most ability to give over the long-term.
  3. Forgetting the fundamentals of fundraising in favour of a focus on innovation.
  4. Not staying relevant and remaining unresponsive to how donors needs states have morphed over the years since the pandemic.

Bad branding, not paying attention to real-life donors, focus on innovation over fundamentals, and not keeping up with shifting donor needs.

Does that sound like any organizations you know?


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.