Philanthropy 2017: Key Changes to Fundraising

As we approach the one-year mark since the election of Donald Trump, several key trends have become clear regarding donors’ response to the new administration and changes in public policy. According to recent survey data from Cygnus Applied Research and PMX Agency, nearly one third of nonprofit supporters plan to give more in 2017, with half of those donors citing the election of Donald Trump as a key factor toward their change in giving. The shift has been especially apparent for millennials, with fifty-two percent planning to increase giving in 2017 compared to thirty-seven percent of donors aged 35 to 64 and twenty-four percent of donors 65 and up. Although younger donors give less on average, fundraisers are beginning to focus on establishing a millennial donor base as they consider their long-term giving potential.

The increase in 2017 giving has largely been directed toward contentious issues that have been the target of Trump administration policies, including health care, the environment, and immigration. Over the past year, nonprofits at the forefront of these issues such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, Greenpeace, and Planned Parenthood have seen a rapid surge in support. This influx of donations has often been in response to specific policies or statements, as we have seen following the January travel ban, the decision to leave the Paris climate accord, and the GOP health care bill. Similarly, the proposed spending cut to Meals on Wheels in March generated national attention and led to more than $170,000 in new donations that week.

In response to these shifts in giving practices, some organizations are making a deliberate effort to attract new donors and resources. Black Lives Matter, for example, announced last month that it would begin searching for its first development officer. Prentis Hemphill, a director for the Black Lives Matter Global Network, explained that the organization would like to channel the spontaneous giving patterns into a more focused strategy: “Most of the time we’ve gotten donations when big things happen or when people are feeling compelled about what’s happening in the world. But we haven’t had anyone dedicated, coming up with a plan… Now more than ever, we need folks’ support so that all our wins don’t get rolled back.”

Read more at the Chronicle of Philanthropy.