In collaboration with CCS Fundraising and K&L Gates, the Center organized an enlightening discussion centered around the findings of the Giving USA 2023 report. This comprehensive report sheds light on charitable giving in the United States, providing valuable insights into the current challenges and opportunities faced by fundraisers.

The event kicked off with Glen O’Gilvie, CEO of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, addressing the elephant in the room—post-COVID anxiety. He acknowledged that it was strange to be back in person after so long, but he was also excited for us all to connect and discuss the future of philanthropy.

Next, Natalie Skinner and Nana Oppong of CCS Fundraising presented the key findings of the Giving USA 2023 report. Natalie highlighted the resilience of giving in the United States. She noted that giving has remained relatively stable during recessions and that it is a part of the American character. However, she also noted that inflation had a dampening effect on giving in 2022 and that the composition of giving is shifting. Nana emphasized the importance of being adaptable, innovative and aware of the current landscape when fundraising. She provided some specific tips for how fundraisers can do this, such as using AI, moving giving days earlier in the year and targeting specific sectors.

Following the presentation, there was a panel discussion with three experienced and tenured fundraisers: Lynn English, seasoned consultant and Managing Partner of English Hudson, Rahsaan Bernard, the president of Building Bridges Across the River, and Flordelisa Perez Dolan, the Major Gifts Director at Latin American Youth Center. The panelists discussed their strategies for engaging donors in the current economic climate and offered valuable advice on how to cultivate fruitful funding outcomes

One of the key takeaways from the event was the importance of building relationships with donors. As Rahsaan Bernard said, “The foundation of relationships is trust. Progress moves at the rate of the progression of trust.” This means that fundraisers need to take the time to get to know their donors and understand their motivations for giving. They also need to be transparent about the organization’s mission and its work.

The panelists also stressed the importance of being creative and innovative in fundraising strategies. Flordelisa Perez Dolan underlined the importance of getting the board involved in fundraising efforts in whatever ways they can think of. She said that board members can be a valuable resource for fundraising ideas and contacts.

Lynn English shared that being as real as possible with donors allowed the biggest allies in the mission’s work to be the source of funding. Posturing and pretending can be exhausting for everyone involved; honesty builds trust, which leads to funding.

Overall, this event was a valuable opportunity for fundraisers to learn about the latest trends in philanthropy and to share ideas with other professionals. The panelists’ insights and advice will be helpful to fundraisers as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of the current economic climate.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the event:

  • The increase in foundation giving is a significant trend.
  • The decline in individual giving is a cause for concern.
  • Fundraisers need to be creative and innovative in their strategies.
  • The foundation of relationships is trust.
  • Donors are more likely to give when they feel connected to the organization.

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