Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BIG’s Blog: A Changing World for Fundraising

At last year’s National Catholic Development Conference, Susan Raymond, Ph.D., from Changing Our World, Inc., gave a fascinating and incredibly timely keynote address on the changing demographic makeup of the United States and its impact on fundraising in the years to come. It certainly was a wake-up call to many of those in attendance that I talked to.  

Recently, The Chronicle of Philanthropy ran an article, Raising Money in a Changing World, highlighting many of the same themes in America’s demographic transition. In the article, they highlighted Emmett Carson, the president of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, saying that nonprofits should already be laying the groundwork in learning about the wishes and hopes of new donors. “Charities that don’t recognize demographic trends are going to shrink and ultimately go out of business,” says Carson. “The populations in the past that have supported them so spectacularly will not have the base of support going forward. This is adapt, change or die.”

Pretty strong words, but Susan Raymond said exactly the same thing in detail a year ago.

Here are just a few of the highlights from The Chronicle of Philanthropy article.

White Americans will no longer be the majority. By 2045, people of color will outnumber whites in the U.S.

Women are gaining economic power. 40% of women with children under 18 are the prime breadwinners in their households. And of these, 37% are married and earn more than their husbands. Nearly half of students now enrolled in law and medical schools are women.

Today’s young adults will push philanthropy to change. Those born beginning in the early 1980s are more demanding, seeking concrete results from their gifts (investments). Charities that tap into their desire for hands-on engagement will win.

Baby Boomers are reaching their prime giving years. Boomers are moving into the age when people start getting organized about their philanthropy and Baby Boomers being 76 million strong will begin to impact philanthropy by the end of this decade.

Secularism is on the rise.  This is a tough one for faith-based organizations now that one in five Americans now claims no religious affiliation. Over the last few decades, religious giving has decreased as a share of all giving. And even donors who are driven by faith are showing more flexibility about where their money goes.

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