[NPFX Ep. 1] Is Annual Giving Dead? (COVID-19 Edition)

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Welcome to The Nonprofit Fundraising Exchange, a podcast from IPM Advancement. Our mission is to help you raise more money so you can make the world a better place.

Today’s topic: Is Annual Giving Dead?

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Why fundraising and communication is so essential, especially now
  • One factor that may mitigate COVID-19’s impact on fundraising
  • Why some nonprofits have concluded that annual giving is dead
  • The role of stewardship in your annual fund program
  • Telemarketing — should you still use it?
  • The importance of knowing your average donor lifetime value
  • 3 aspects of annual giving that still matter
  • What donors value most when they give to a nonprofit
  • The value of data-driven fundraising projections in short- and long-term planning
  • How to communicate with your donors during the pandemic

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Show Notes:

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According to the latest data, the share of US households making charitable donations has dropped significantly since the year 2000. As a result, many nonprofits are scrambling to retool the more traditional elements of their annual giving programs, or are abandoning them entirely. In our podcast episode today, we’ll look at the state of annual giving and what nonprofits can do to sustain and grow their annual fund. We’ll also frame things in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has certainly brought up some new questions for nonprofits.

Let’s meet our panel.

Jack: Hello, this is Jack Padovano. I’m President and Owner of IPM Advancement.

Russ: I’m Russ Phaneuf, IPM’s Managing Director and Chief Strategist.

Diana: And I’m Diana Gardner. I’m IPM Advancement’s Vice President of Client Development.

Rich: And I’m Rich Frazier, Senior Consultant with IPM Advancement.

Curtis: And I’m Curtis Schmitt, your moderator. Thank you all for being here today. Before we get started, let’s address what’s going on in the world to give context to this conversation.


How COVID-19 Might Affect Annual Giving

Right now as we’re recording this, most areas of the United States and the entire world for that matter, are taking measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Many schools and businesses are closed, the stock market has seen one of its biggest drops ever, and analysts predict that unemployment claims will be at historic highs over the next several weeks. How does what’s happening set the stage for our conversation today about annual giving?

Russ: So Curtis, I think what we’re going to try to answer in this conversation is whether we think annual giving is dead. And given what’s happening in the world right now, the takeaway for I think most of us is that it’s not, and it’s really an opportunity for organizations to use annual giving in the way that it was intended to be used. It’s not just about asking for money. It’s about communicating with your donors and really building on that relationship, and really doubling down on your value proposition with people.

Rich: Over the past week, a lot of us here at IPM have been on phone calls and conference calls and webinars and video conferences with our clients, with other consultants, with other nonprofit professionals around the country, trying to figure out, okay, how do we navigate through this COVID-19 thing, right? Because none of us have a handbook for this. Historically, what we’ve seen through other disasters like 9/11, the dot-com bust, tsunamis and earthquakes is that those organizations that push forward and maintain their fundraising course are the ones who come out the other side most successful, right? So I think that’s probably the biggest takeaway here is that we don’t stop fundraising. We have to continue on. We have to be sensitive to the messaging, right? We have to read the room. Be aware of what’s around us and acknowledge how it’s impacting our mission. But we can’t stop the fundraising or the communication.

Diana: I would agree with that. I would say that based on all the calls that I’ve had this week with clients, the strongest piece of advice that I can give them, and based on best practices, and institutionally, what the nonprofit sector is saying is, don’t take your foot off the gas; double down. It’s scary. You know, you’re looking at budgets in terms of where the cuts need to be for the resources that you currently maintain. But I think people are giving this a very strong second look as they start looking at their budgets for the fiscal year end and then the new fiscal year and acknowledging that fundraising absolutely becomes even more of a priority than it was in prior years. And I think with respect to how this is going to impact annual fund, surely budgets will be cut. But I think we’ll see there is a stronger desire for folks who maybe have subscribed to the notion that annual fund is dead, who will now sort of jump back on the train acknowledging just how important and how critical those dollars are. So I do see a lot of optimism with respect to people doubling down on the notion and realizing how critical it is to get back into the pool of annual fund fundraising, and doing what they can to make sure that those resources are shored up.

Rich: So I want to jump on that budget cutting conversation here, Diana, because this is true, right? So many organizations right now are shutting their doors, especially if they’re a public facing organization, if they are a convening place — museums, theaters, whatever. And they are cutting budgets, they’re looking at temporary layoffs for their staff. We’ve got a client right now that might be looking at seven-figure shortfalls, right? So what do you do? The natural inclination for a lot of boards of directors or senior leadership who are not savvy in fundraising is to slash the soft stuff. And what does that look like? That’s the fundraising; that’s the marketing department. But that’s where you need to double down at this time, right? Double down in your fundraising. And I was looking at some statistics yesterday from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and, you know, let’s go back to the recession of 2008 and 2009: Giving from donors to their favorite organizations remained fairly steady in that time. It may have dropped a little bit, maybe 4-8% in that time, but historically, giving remains fairly steady as long as your requests and your messaging remains steady. This isn’t apples to apples because we’ve never done this global pandemic thing before, but we have to take that history lesson here.

Russ: So I think one other thing too that we want keep in mind is, this is different. We’ve never seen anything like this. Economically, the way that this is starting to kind of, you know, progress over the few weeks that we’ve been in this kind of crisis mode, this is going to heavily affect people who are in the service industry, younger people, folks who may not traditionally be among the types of annual givers that really make up the brunt of most donors. So when we look at it as a threat to nonprofits, I think it is going to be muted a little bit because, you know, until the economic fallout spreads to the folks who are in executive and management and creative and tech positions, I think that it will be a little muted because of just the uniqueness of this particular crisis and how it’s unfolding economically. I think that it will be important to engage younger people going forward. But again, we didn’t see a lot of participation from that group of folks regardless. They may have been more predisposed to episodic giving; they’re not what I’d consider traditional annual donors. And so that is also another factor to consider as you’re looking at your program. Your audience probably won’t change that much, so it is important to continue to message to them, and especially over the next several months. While this is still in a crisis mode. It’s really, really important to be connecting with your donors and emphasizing that value proposition that you offer them.


Why Some Nonprofits Shift Resources Away from Annual Giving

Curtis: So given that this new context, the COVID-19 pandemic, will surely inform the advice that we are giving nonprofits today, let’s for a moment look at this question of, is annual giving dead? So I want to ask you guys, what do you think has been happening over the last couple decades, that may have led some organizations to make that conclusion?

Diana: I think people are starting to or have previously, I don’t think that’s true anymore, to be totally honest with you. And that was even prior to COVID-19. I do think in the past that people thought annual giving was dead, because they felt like they were wasting their dollars and not seeing quick ROI, the kind of ROI that they would potentially see with individual giving on a larger scale, major donor giving. I also think that people lost the patience of investing in prospecting and pulled the plug. The challenge with that is when you stop prospecting for new donors because you’re not seeing that immediate ROI — and remember, when you’re prospecting for new donors, it takes at least 18 months to start to sort of flip them, going from red to black — I think people historically have gotten frustrated with not seeing that immediate turnaround of revenue, immediate ROI from that investment, and instead shifted dollars away from annual giving into whatever new shiny object there was. “All right, let’s do a $500,000 micro digital campaign and do a tremendous amount of ad buys associated with that.” And they moved away from the traditional annual giving, integrated approach. And as a result of that, it cost them thousands and thousands of dollars that they have relied upon year over year from what I like to call replenishing the well. And annual giving really serves that purpose where you’re able to — you’re always going to have a natural amount of attrition through your lapsed and long lapse donors. But when you put the brakes on prospecting, immediately you’re going to take a tremendous hit because you’re not counting a certain baseline or certain percentage of attrition that would organically occur. And so I think the notion historically in the past — I don’t think we’re there anymore, to be totally honest with you — but I think the notion of annual giving is dead is because people pumped the brakes on traditional annual giving tactics, including prospecting, and redirected funds towards things such as peer-to-peer fundraising and sort of larger donor fundraising where they thought that they could immediately see the fruits of their labor and that instant ROI. That’s what my clients have said. And it’s a unique position to be in because when you wave that flag and warn them, “This is a mistake, this is a mistake, trust me,” sure enough, 18, 22 months later, they come back and say, “Damn, we really should not have done that. We should have just stayed the course.”

Jack: I think Diana is right on the money with this. Talking to different executive directors, as well as other folks that lead agencies like ours that help people raise money, it’s purely a financial decision. You know, I mean, one of the things that we’ve seen is a real shift in how nonprofits are managed. And if you look at the type of people they like to bring on their boards as well, I mean that they’re business professionals, people that run for-profit companies, and as a result, there’s been a shift to make your nonprofit look more like a for-profit business and manage that way. And I think when you look at prospecting results, what it costs to bring on a new donor, response rates decreasing, all of that has gotten worse. And it’s gotten more difficult. So it’s costing more and more money. And as a result, people shy away from those things, you know, “We can’t afford it anymore.” The point though, I think and why Diana’s seeing people come around is that there’s not an alternative. There isn’t a good alternative to a traditional, well-run annual fund. Yeah, you can do things a bit differently. Digital does play a role; we haven’t all figured out what that role is quite yet and still in the midst of it. But, you know, going back to looking at strengthening all the things that I think we’re going to be talking about, about what people can do around messaging and reducing costs and all that stuff, it is important. So my point is I think it’s — Curtis, to answer your question directly — I think it’s purely a financial decision of why are people pulling back.

Rich: So Jack, I want to address what you said about the boards because they are typically the ones who are leading that financial decision, right? So I think there’s an opportunity for executive directors and directors of development to start feeding the right information to boards of directors and the right benchmarks, benchmark reports, because fundraising in itself is not a predictive activity. We can’t predict how much money is going to come in the door, how many donors we’re going to have. And so that’s why on our benchmark reports, we have to start providing those predictive measures: Here’s the number of pieces that we’re sending out; here’s how many times per year we’re doing this; here’s how many calls we’re making as major gifts officers, right? So it’s the predictive actions that lead to the non-predictive results.

Russ: Yeah, and I think the other thing too to consider is that there is a lot of pressure on organizations to kind of respond to, you know, what’s their version of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I think episodic giving has really changed annual giving. And the expectation that every organization is going to be able to have their own version of the Ice Bucket Challenge puts a lot of pressure on nonprofits to come up with something. And that’s really against the traditional kind of approach for annual giving. I mean, annual giving is, a lot of it, is about just being consistent, having consistent drop dates year after year. Being dependable, being a really good source of information. It’s really a secondary marketing department. You’re building relationships with people based on the content you’re putting out. You know, we’ve all heard the complaint that donors have, that the only time I ever hear from you is when you ask me for money. And a really good annual giving program and a really effective annual fund puts asks as just part of the communications strategy. And I think that in the paper, the white paper Is Annual Giving Dead? that we’re talking about today, there’s five different ways that we look at it in terms of a givers market. You know, there’s so many options for people nowadays, to look at how to spend their philanthropic dollars and that competition really makes it a givers market. What we found, and what we talk about is that donors are more impact driven. They really want to know that their dollars are being put to good use, not just going into some black hole of giving. And then that gap between small gifts and large gifts, we’ve seen that increase over the past 20 years especially. But it’s following a lot of the demographic changes, the socio demographic changes in the United States, the socio economic changes of really the hollowing out of the middle class. It’s almost like, you kind of have a group of maybe small donors for a lot of organizations, very small, micro donors. And then you might have a pretty big gap until you get to people who are knocking on the door of major gifts. And so I think that, you know, those are two factors. The other one is that the donor pyramid, you know, that traditional notion that it’s a triangle, and then you got a bunch of people on the bottom and it slowly very linearly goes up, it’s probably not very true for most organizations. The two other things that I had mentioned in the white paper were, there are some parts of traditional annual giving that are dead. For some folks, it just doesn’t make sense to get on the phones anymore and do a phone-a-thon or a telefund program. And what we’re finding is that, again, to the points that have been echoed here in the last few minutes, a lot of people are chasing that shiny object, as Diana said; they’re investing in digital acquisition especially, and they’re just not seeing the kind of ROI on digital acquisition. And that’s still a nut that this industry hasn’t cracked yet.

Diana: I would agree with that. And I don’t mean to cut you off, Russ, but I mean, it’s so true with chasing shiny objects and being distracted and moving away from the playbook. I think people, again, are starting to come back to the playbook because they realize, guess what? It works. We just have to get smarter. And we have to sort of collaborate more with our marketing arm of our organization because we are so outward facing and that includes ensuring that messaging is consistent across two different departments. It also ensures that, to your point when they hear from you, it’s not just about asking for a gift. There’s so many times where clients are so cautious about creating stewardship campaigns because they’re like, “Well, the last time they actually heard from us, we asked them for a gift.” And I say, “Exactly, this is the exact reason why they should be hearing from you more often.” You should be collaborating with your marketing department. And when they do hear from you, it’s not just to ask for a gift, but it’s to be transparent with them with what’s happening within the organization. It is to provide them with a quasi seat at the table because they have invested within your organization. So I think referring to back to the white paper that you so brilliantly wrote, I think you can’t underestimate the value of stewardship in annual fund — and stewardship not just within the annual fund but across the organization with other communications, whether it’s through the major donor program that’s taking place, whether it’s through the general marcom program that’s taking place. But that sure value of stewardship integration across multiple departments within nonprofits is what’s going to keep annual fund alive and thriving.

Jack: What I’m hearing and both reading in our white paper, hearing today on this call, and then talking to others in the context of even COVID-19, that annual giving isn’t dead, but what is dead are some of the strategies that we’ve used previously in annual fund, and Russ made the point about telemarketing being one of those that probably is at its end or close to its end in a mass way. So I think that’s the point where we are right now. Would you all agree?

Diana: I would caveat that if I might. I think telefundraising, telemarketing, telestewardship, tele-town hall, using phones as a vehicle during a rapid response crisis, such as a pandemic or a natural disaster or some really hot button legislation that’s about to pass that’s going to impact thousands and actually millions of Americans — I do think the caveat is, telefundraising, tele-town hall, telecommunications actually still does have value in terms of the regular mainstream with the other channels that are more traditional. I do think people are seeing that it’s really not as valuable as it has been in the past. But I also do think that it depends on the kind of vertical you’re in. For membership associations with larger audiences that skew older who are used to renewing or subscribing through phone calls, I do think there’s still value. But I think, generally speaking from a 50,000 foot view, yes, I think this group at least IPM suggests that telefundraising, teleservices certainly should take a backseat to some of those other priority channels.

Russ: And I think it depends on what kind of organization you’re in. You know, that is a big part of telefundraising being successful is who’s making the call. And so I think if you’re in a university annual fund environment, and you still have students who are reaching out to alumni, that might be a meaningful program that continues. And maybe it only continues for certain class years, to your point. But I think it’s — the big thing for me, right, as a donor and a consumer is that telemarketing is generally very intrusive. And so the challenge you have to meet and the bar you have to have to clear with telemarketing is that it is such a compelling message that you’re delivering to people like in a rapid response situation. As long as it’s timely, relevant and compelling, then I think you begin to clear that bar. And if you have the right person on the other line, delivering that message, then it becomes, you know, you make your way toward viability in terms of using it as a solicitation method.


Making the Case for Your Annual Fund Program to Leadership

Curtis: So let’s say there’s a nonprofit, they’re seeing a decrease in response, whether it’s their prospecting or their annual fund program, or they’re getting distracted by the promise of new technologies, things like that. And they want to make a case to the leadership to keep investing in the annual program. How do they make that case, like, are there metrics they can be looking at or tracking that they’re not tracking? What’s going to show them that there’s still value here?

Russ: So I think one of the things that we do is, we really encourage people to look at the entire program as an integrated fundraising effort. That’s really, really important because nowadays, you might send out a direct mail appeal and drive people online to make their gift and fulfill their gift on the web. So that immediately you might not necessarily see the numbers come back on that mailing and can calculate a very, you know, direct ROI; you have to broaden your view to the whole program. And I think that also, that kind of thinking you can also apply that thinking to the fact that, you know, an appeal can’t just be about asking people for money. It has to be about stewardship, it has to be about informing people, it has to be about delivering value and reinforcing whatever your donor value proposition is. And I think that to be able to convince management and board members of the value of that [your annual fund], that’s one of the most important jobs that fundraisers have nowadays, because I think, as Rich said and others have said on this call, it’s easy for folks who don’t get it to just slash that money. And once you slash, you know, just as one example, once you slash acquisition, it creates a system where you’re just going to — the way that the system works is you will see contraction in your donor file over time; you have to replace lost donors over time. And you do that by adding new donors and optimizing your donor retention strategy. So I think again, it’s just convincing those people with your data, with industry data, and, frankly, with the help of consultants that you engage, because we know how to message to leadership about the importance of certain programs, and we can do it in a way that bolsters your argument internally, and maybe gives you a little bit more of a leg to stand on in making the case to those stakeholders who are really controlling what your budget is as an annual fundraiser.

Diana: I would agree with that. I would also add one of the tools that I use in my arsenal is when people are on the fence of pulling the plug is, Alright, let’s quickly touch base and let’s start looking at lifetime value. Let’s start looking at your current file and seeing what happens if you stop today versus where you would be in 3, 5, 10 years from now. And I think those metrics really sort of shock them and say, “Whoa, I didn’t realize how much bleeding, how we would be bleeding out.” And if you show them the sort of like the loss of revenue in those scenarios, then it really starts to sink in, like, “Okay, you know, we’re not going to put the brakes on, we’re going to keep going.” I think that’s a really good metric for our clients.


Keeping Your Mission Alive during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Curtis: Great. So let’s get into some concrete advice here. What aspects of an annual giving program should a nonprofit invest in? Given they have limited resources, where should they be putting those resources?

Russ: I’m going to lay out what we discussed in the white paper and then we can expand on that, add some additional ideas. But the three things that we talked about are, number one, messaging still matters. So good fundraising messaging drives engagement. And that’s been true, you know, since the beginning. And I think that if you can generate a great story, if you take the time and you put the resources into collecting stories, building relationships that are really meaningful, and getting that content that you need in terms of photographs, in terms of personal stories, getting that content together so that when you need to deploy it, you’ve already got the approvals, you’ve got a good set of resources that you can go out with, I think that is key. So the messaging part of it is number one. And having a donor-centric mindset is also really important because donor impact is driving a lot of giving decisions. So you know, your folks that you’ve engaged, they believe in your organization at some level. And I think the trick is to optimize that donor value proposition. That’s especially important right now, with COVID-19 and the pandemic. I think that this experience for a lot of people is going to — especially for folks who are engaged with organizations that are, you know, maybe theaters and orchestras and places as Rich had pointed out earlier that are really dependent on audience engagement — your donor value proposition can’t falter during this period. And you have to double down on that and just remind people why it’s so important that they continue to engage with you and give them good reasons to do that. And then I think the third thing is that, you know, planning still matters. You might deploy in different ways compared to what your organization did maybe 10 or 15 years ago, but consistency still matters. And, you know, your ability to get in front of people on a regular basis, have a really good diverse message that covers not only asking, but also thanking and informing and connecting with people, you know, being able to get that message out to people on a regular basis through multiple ways of communicating is also super important. And all three of those things aren’t going to change going forward.

Diana: I would agree. I just wanted to add one more thing because what you said really resonated with me — before COVID-19, after especially — is that transparency. Transparency is a big trend that has always been sort of surging more and more and more year after year, what donors value most when they give to an organization, they really, really value transparency and communication, holding nonprofits accountable, and the need to be authentic and as honest in the communications as possible. I think that’s beyond — we’re at a sort of watershed moment here where that’s only going to be exponentially more important with folks who give because they’re going to want — it is critical for nonprofits now more than ever to communicate, “If you give X we will be able to achieve Y,” and being very, very specific: Where is the money going to, and why — again, that donor value proposition — why their support is so critically needed at this juncture. I think moving forward in the age of a pandemic, nonprofits are going to thrive if they subscribe to that kind of philosophy where they have to be as transparent as possible in their communications and in that donor value proposition to really affirm, “Where is my money and going to?” Well, this is what you are supporting.

Jack: I think, also, in order to live up to boards, executive directors and even donors, particularly major donors, organizations and nonprofits are just going to need to be able to articulate a fundraising projection over a three-, four- or five-year period. And, you know, numbers and financials are still going to be king, and that’s going to drive the decision-making. So, you know, to answer your question directly, Curtis, what I think it’s going to take is a smart five-year fundraising projection. And you know, something like that requires a bit of art, but a whole heck of a lot of science. And also, you know, where the organization is in terms of its growth, whether it’s just starting out or whether they’ve been around for 5 years or 20 years. And one of the things that we’ve helped both our current clients do and prospective clients is develop those fundraising projections. And each one is different. But the tool is basically the same and it not only takes all of the data that you have currently and the performance of each of the market segments and the sheer numbers of donors that you have and warm prospects and cold prospects within your vertical, it looks at geographics, demographics, psychographics, the available data pools, potential response rates that you currently have, but that you might want to try to aspire to; and ultimately, what we end up with at the end of the day, after going through the exercise is a strong educated guess about what your file would look like as well as your revenue and your investment and your ROI. Going back to Diana’s original point, it not only shows you the investment you need to make up front in terms of an annual fund in terms of prospecting and bringing new donors on your file, but what that payback looks like, and whether that payback comes in the form of 6 months, a year, or 2 years or whatnot. But setting those expectations over a minimum of three, probably a maximum of five years, I think is critical.

Rich: You know, Jack, that’s a good point. I’d also like to think about those organizations who are wondering where they’re going to be 5 months from now. So I’m going to go back to leaning into communicating with your donors right now. And not pressing the brake on that at all, and prioritizing and adapting your message to what’s happening right now. Back to Diana’s point about transparency, you know, be honest about how COVID-19 is affecting your mission and your organization. You know, if you’re losing revenue because of this, be honest about it. You know, this is not a woe-is-me story. So we still have to be impactful with our mission. And we still have to talk about how we are pivoting the delivery maybe with our mission, right? But we have to lean into that communication and talk about, “Hey, you know what? This is how it’s impacting us. But this is how we’re using our mission to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our community,” right? So maybe we’re on the frontline, maybe we’re actually providing health care services or maybe we’re providing some online educational services for the kids who are stuck at home and not able to go to school. Or maybe we’re feeding those kids who are missing the free lunch program. But whatever your organization is doing to mitigate the effect of COVID-19, or to provide some service or to remain relevant, that’s what you lean into. You also want to make sure that you are aware of what those donors’ needs are. So be mindful of them. “How are you doing?” are very important words to say right now, and, you know, emphasize their importance to your organization. This goes back to the stewardship conversation that we had earlier. Let them know how important they are to you. The money part, you know, that comes up, and it’s not about keeping the doors open; it’s about keeping the mission going. “You are important to making sure this mission happens so that we still provide services to the people in this community” or whatever your community looks like whether that’s on a global scale or on a micro scale.

Curtis: Rich, I think that’s a great point that you made about keeping the focus on the donors. Specifically that question of “How are you in this pandemic, this time of uncertainty?” So in that spirit — and I’m asking this question to the whole panel — in that spirit, what would you like to say, or what would we like to say, as an organization, to people who might be listening right now who are feeling concerned and wondering how are they going to keep their mission moving forward?

Diana: I do think it’s important for our listeners to understand that we remain optimistic, that it’s going to be bumpy over these next several months, but we remain optimistic and that if you stick with what you know, and you sort of fine tune the aspects of what you know — you know, go stronger on stewardship, stronger on transparency, stay away from shiny objects, stay the course — we will rise. And I just want to make sure that that message is conveyed in some way of this conversation because I think it’s so important for nonprofits to hear.


Summary: Is Annual Giving Dead?

Curtis: Thank you. I agree that’s a very important message for organizations to hear and individuals to hear as well right now. So then, let’s summarize. Let’s go around the table and let’s hear from each of you. Is annual giving dead? Diana?

Diana: I think this panel understands how I feel about this, as I indicated at the top of the call. Absolutely not. Annual giving is not dead. More and more organizations are starting to realize that it’s not dead and I think in this new landscape, with the pandemic, I think it becomes 20 million times more important than it ever was. I think people are going to be doubling down. So no, not dead.

Curtis: Rich, your thoughts?

Rich: News of my demise has been greatly exaggerated. We absolutely, absolutely have to double down especially now. Lean into it; you have to communicate with your donors. Do not press pause on your annual giving.

Curtis: Jack?

Jack: Annual giving is not dead. There may be some pieces of your strategy that are on life support and need some resuscitation and tender loving care. Attend to those and you’ll be fine.

Curtis: And Russ?

Russ: Annual giving is not dead. It may be that annual giving’s arm has fallen off or perhaps annual giving maybe needs an operation. But it’s not dead. I think it’s a key revenue stream for a lot of organizations. For some organizations, you know, they might just break even with annual giving or they might even lose money. But I think the fact remains that it’s a way to involve people who feel strongly enough about your organization that they want to give you money. And if you cultivate those relationships over time, then those people could be your next leadership and major gifts and planned giving donors. And, you know, annual giving isn’t just again about asking for money. It’s also about really delivering a value proposition for your organization to people, and so absolutely not dead. It’s changing. So new technologies have changed the way that donors behave and interact. Episodic giving is up. There’s a lot of social pressure on organizations to find that next big, shiny object or have the next big Ice Bucket Challenge campaign. And donor loyalty is down for a lot of reasons. But number one, there’s a lot of competition out there and donors are very choosy. So there’s a lot of challenges. But none of those challenges are things that that can’t be overcome for organizations.

Curtis: That wraps up our conversation on annual giving. Thanks to the panel for sharing their insights and expertise. If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave a review in iTunes. And if you’d like to learn more on this subject, you can get your free copy of our white paper Is Annual Giving Dead? in the Resources section of the IPM website. That address is ipmadvancement.com/resources. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.


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