2017 promises to bring change and hopefully a better future. The building strength of the economy will continue to positively increase philanthropy this year. Below are my philanthropic predictions for this New Year.
Generosity rising. 2017 will bring another increase in total philanthropic giving by ~4% to reach a new high of over $388 billion in contributions. Giving USA has been reporting a steady 3-4% increase in overall giving over the past 5 years. Total giving is predicted to increase by 4.1% in 2016 and by 4.3% in 2017.
Increase in visibility of generous female donors. While women are the philanthropic decision makers, they don’t always take the credit. Last year Sheryl Sanford ‘leaned’ in to make a very public and large ($107 million) gift. I suspect and hope this trend of female leaders making public philanthropic gifts continues.
Matching or challenge gifts will continue to inspire giving. Leverage every dollar donated. If your gift made twice he different, donors will feel twice as satisfied.
While we will most likely lose another great philanthropist (like Conrad Prebys), the Millennial philanthropists will continue to step up. The wealthiest of U.S. Millennials, Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, rocked the world of philanthropy in December 2015. The couple announced that they would be contributing 99% of their lifetime wealth in the form of Facebook shares to a new limited liability company (LLC) for the purpose of social-impact investing and philanthropic giving.
“Show them the money.” Younger donors will expect impact from their giving and want to see how their philanthropy can most effectively be leveraged in creating change. The best investments are measured in the strength of their returns. Donors want to know the impact their donations will make – not just the services the dollars will provide – but also the difference the services will make in the lives of the individuals.
Increase in endowment fundraising. 2017 will bring the launch of endowment campaigns as well as efforts to increase current endowments. While universities have been building their endowments for decades, this New Year will bring an increase in endowment campaigns for all nonprofits. The security of an endowment not only creates sustainability, it provides a lasting legacy for the donors who contribute and the organization.
Relationships will always cultivate major gifts. However, technology is changing solicitations for smaller, annual fund gifts. Forbes reports that emails “tend to be opened more often on a smartphone or tablet versus anywhere else.” So plan to integrate a payment button directly into your emails to increase donations.