Nonprofit Trends for 2019: Your Philanthropy Outlook

What does 2019 look like for your nonprofit? We have scoured the internet and our resources to bring you some nonprofit philanthropy trends that can help your organization achieve success in 2019.

There are many unknowns that affect future charitable giving. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for example, has generated speculation from some nonprofits who rely on itemized tax deductions to boost donor incentive. However, your organization can better prepare for tomorrow by understanding the philanthropic sentiment of today’s donors. We’ve listed a few conditions here that may inform your 2019 giving outlook.

Monthly giving on the rise

Subscription services are flourishing (think Netflix or Amazon Prime)—and that’s no surprise. Smaller, monthly payments that automatically renew tend to be more manageable and convenient for consumers, while companies enjoy increased customer retainment. The concept has influenced philanthropic giving, too; monthly giving increased by 40% in 2017. While the statistics are still pending for 2018, recurring giving rates are expected to increase into 2019. Your organization may want to embrace the trend: monthly givers tend to donate more over time than their counterparts who donate once per year. In fact, the annual value of regular givers is worth nearly 3 times more than that of one-time donors! Check out this article for ways your organization can promote monthly giving.

A different (and direct) approach to asking

Nonprofits have often used their past successes to appeal to donors, asking for donations to help continue its efforts. However, this model may prove less effective in 2019. Today’s donors want to know their contributions are making a difference. Gen-Xers and Millennials are especially motivated by a sense of social responsibility; they want to be a part of the change-making process. To engage the next generation of givers, you may need to change the way you ask for funds. This article suggests using the following outline to appeal to donors:

  • There’s a problem occurring right now.
  • You’re needed to solve the problem.
  • Here’s how your gift, or time, will solve the problem.

This model appeals to the proactive donor by identifying a current need and shifting the focus from the past to the present.

Employee sentiment to drive corporate giving

Your organization may rely on local businesses to meet fundraising goals for the year. According to the Philanthropy Outlook for 2018-2019, companies have begun to recognize the benefits of focusing on their employees’ philanthropic interests. Here are a few facts and figures to consider:


Source: Philanthropy Outlook for 2018-2019

What does this data suggest for your organization? To foster good corporate partnerships, be receptive to the goals and interests of their employees. When working with corporate partners, offer a variety of causes and programs and allow for simple team sign-up. Employees who feel passionate about the cause, and who have a positive experience donating or volunteering through a company program, are more likely to return to your organization.

A shift in focus for disaster giving

Many disaster funds receive outpourings of charitable donations from individuals and corporations immediately after a disaster event. However, funding can just as quickly subside, even when significant need remains. If your nonprofit gets involved in disaster relief, the Center for Disaster Preparedness suggests shifting the focus from short-term, reactionary giving toward a more sustainable, strategic giving plan to have the most impact:

  • Plan ahead: Have a program in place, ready to collect donations or lend services for planning, recovery, and immediate relief efforts.
  • Think holistically: How can your organization, your volunteers, and their skill sets make a difference?
  • Be strategic and sustainable: Waiting for a disaster to strike before we act is unsustainable. A changing climate calls for creative thinking and preparation. Support innovative prevention, mitigation, and adaptability programs.

Research has shown that disaster-relief giving can heighten “prosocial behavior such as charitable giving and volunteering in the long-term.” Make sure your nonprofit has a program in place to receive donations and supplies when disaster strikes (and consider reaching out to your community’s disaster mitigation efforts).

In conclusion

While it’s impossible to know the exact course of future nonprofit philanthropy trends, organizations can better prepare for a new year of change-making by remaining abreast of public sentiment toward giving. There are plenty of resources out to help your nonprofit develop a better sense of tomorrow. The 2018 Giving Report provides information about global trends in giving, while M+R Benchmarks compiles digital nonprofit data for 2018. Finally, The Philanthropy Outlook 2018-2019 looks at trends that may drive the future of corporate and public philanthropy. These resources and more should help you prepare for a successful 2019!

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