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Where will fundraising be in 5 years' time?

  • Where will fundraising be in 5 years' time? By FIA Thu 18 January 2018

    Don’t miss the inaugural Big Room Sessions at the conference this year, where a panel of experts will be “Visioning the Future” on Friday morning.

    In the meantime, we asked our expert speakers and Conference Program Committee alike to gaze into the crystal ball and make some predictions about fundraising in 5 years' time. Here’s what they see:

    In the cards: wealth transfer will transform the landscape

    FundraisingForce’s Stephen Mally FFIA CFRE set the scene, predicting the fundraising landscape will change by 2023 with the transfer of wealth across the generations.

    “It is estimated that over the next 30 years, US$30 trillion in financial and non-financial assets will be transferred from baby boomers to a new generation. The non-profit and fundraising sectors need to be prepared to be part of this transformation,” he said.

    Written in the stars: more fundraisers, more big gifts & more of…well, everything

    Some of our experts envisage more people working in fundraising and donors becoming more understanding of what the role entails. Several suggest that fundraising will be a more exciting job with increasing emphasis on innovation, disruption and technology making the role both rewarding and demanding.

    “If looking back at the past 5 years is any indication, in the next 5 the professional field of fundraising will continue to grow with more people choosing the field as a career,” said Dan Bernstein MFIA.

    The University of Sydney’s Tim Dolan predicts Australian not-for-profits will keep getting better: “In 5 years’ time, big gifts will become even more generous and prolific, and good development officers will be in even higher demand than they are today,” he said.

    Include a Charity’s Helen Merrick MFIA has another perspective: fundraising is going to be everyone’s business in not-for-profit organisations.

    “Overall, the sector is highly competitive, with a limited audience and low trust and confidence in the work we are doing. Connecting fundraising with all parts of the organisation and making revenue generation an organisation-wide responsibility is going to be a key part of a fundraiser’s role,” she said.

    For Martin Paul FFIA fundraising will, aptly, have “more” of everything, including increased complexity. He prophesizes “more channels, more data sets, more measures and more demands upon us, including increased accountability.”

    “We’ll be expected to demonstrate social impact to high-value funders,” he said.

    Paul also predicts increased efficiency in the sector, envisaging shared back offices, merging of similar organisations and technology. Making things faster, easier and cheaper.

    Dan Bernstein MFIA predicts that “organisations will be increasingly data-driven in their decision making, and more strategic in their plans and efforts to increase philanthropic income.”

    The scrying game: no silver bullets for acquisition, but greater diversification

    New forms of fundraising WILL be created BUT Ben Holgate MFIA does not see a regular giving acquisition “silver bullet” that will suddenly appear as the new face-to-face channel.

    “Digital will be bigger and better in 5 years, but the main game will still be at the top end of the donor pyramid as we reach ‘peak baby-boomers’ for living gifts and bequests,” he suggested.

    Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s Nicola Norris MFIA feels that face-to-face fundraising will continue to be a key channel in the years ahead with greater diversification in regular giving acquisition channels.

    “Due to rising costs across the sector, a greater emphasis will be placed on non-face-to-face channels such as online and telemarketing. We will see more savvy donors focusing on impact, so it’s going to be vital that charities can clearly demonstrate their impact and how they measure it,” she said.

    Some of our experts, like Xponential Philanthropy’s Erica Myers-Tattersall MFIA, foretell smaller non-profits investing more in their social media presence. More donors and supporters will be talking about their favourite charity brands and taking action via social media.

    “There will be more emphasis on technology and digital engagement with donors, with social media strategies becoming the norm for small and mid-size not-for-profits,” she said.

    In the tea leaves: you’ve got (snail) mail

    Marcus Blease FFIA has never been “one for the tea leaves,” but he still sees a place for traditional fundraising channels, especially mail. “Mail will be a much loved, well-opened novelty as few other sectors are using it,” he said.

    Magic 8 ball says…closer partnerships with donors

    For Gold Coast Hospital’s Kim Sutton MFIA CFRE relationship-building aspects will remain relevant to all donors in the future. “The need to effectively engage, steward and provide the human touch will still be relevant and necessary,” she said.

    Helen Merrick MFIA agrees, “Retention and donor relationships will be key, with a focus on providing multiple touch points for engagement rather than just the transactional relationships often undertaken at the moment. There needs to be value placed on quality over quantity; often, we measure success by increased revenue and gift, and new supporters, rather than equal measure being placed on donor retention, connection to other parts of the organisation and offering them different ways to engage.”

    Act for Peace’s Ruthann Richardson MFIA doesn’t believe that donors’ motivations for giving will change, but she does see an increasing number of donors being more involved in the work that fundraisers do.

    “It won’t be enough for them to simply write a cheque or know they are making a monthly direct debt. They will want to feel they are playing a bigger part in the work our organisation is doing,” she said.

    “I think it’s going to be increasingly important for us to provide our supporters with opportunities for engagement and to provide them with tangible evidence of impact, showing them exactly how their money is making a difference. It’s going to be important for us to understand our donors’ motivations, then find out what is most important to them in a way that is truly motivating.”

    Going to the Conference? Let us know!

    If you’re also attending FIA Conference 2018, reach out to us in the comments section below or on Twitter (@FundInstituteAu). We’d love to hear your predictions for where fundraising will be in 5 years’ time! Do you agree or disagree with our experts? Do you have some fresh thoughts on the topic? Write and let us know.

    What do you think?




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