Home – 5 Strategic Prospect Research & Fundraising Trends for Nonprofits

5 Strategic Prospect Research & Fundraising Trends for Nonprofits

Posted on 09-28-2016 by Janelle Coates

Co-authored by Kari Abitbol 

Last week, LexisNexis teamed up with a prospect research duo from The Helen Brown Group for a webinar presentation featuring key insights about the current fundraising climate trends. Elizabeth Roma, assistant director of research, and Rachel Dakarian, research associate, shared tips for conducting effective donor research and how to identify and engage high-value prospects.

Check out the top 5 takeaways from our webinar.

1.       Megagifts & Philanthrocapitalism—megagifts, defined as charitable contributions of $100 million or more, are on the rise. 2015 saw 19 total megagifts, and three more were announced just this past week. As for philanthropcapitalism, the buzz word describes how donors are seeing less of a division between what they’re doing as professionals and what they’re doing as philanthropists. We’re seeing a new wave of integration between the for-profit financial sector and the non-profit sector.

2.       Innovation vs. Institution—the monumental shift from believing in institutions to believing in innovation is a direct result of the new global elite—a Silicon Valley crowd of young, wealthy tech titans. Because this group is successful in business, they believe the same principles can be applied to philanthropy. Their idealism, optimism and faith in data guides their philanthropic approach.

3.       Trends in Political Giving—using 2012 reports on donor research as a framework for 2016 forecasts, donors who gave to political campaigns gave 0.9% more to charitable organizations. Donors who did not give to political campaigns reduced their charitable giving by 2.1%. When conducting prospect research, try creating a list of political donors. If individuals have given at least $2,500 in their lifetime to political campaigns or organizations, then they are 14 times more likely to make a philanthropic donation.

4.       Collaborative Philanthropy— younger philanthropists are increasingly looking to experts to advise them on their charitable giving options. Jeffrey Walker, a well-known thought leader in the non-profit sector, published an article talking about how the 21st century form of philanthropy uses leveraged funding to support innovative ideas, systems and technologies for integration into larger social systems. This potential to help drive large-scale systemic change is precisely why the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was created—to help reform health care, education and other social problems that the U.S. government is unable or unwilling to address. If you pitch the idea of collaborative philanthropy to your advancement team, we’re quite confident you’ll be able to energize donors and find new prospects for your organization.

5.       The Future of Philanthropy—the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative proved to be a cornerstone moment for philanthropy. When Mark Zuckerberg & Priscilla Chan announced their plan to commit $3 billion over the next 10 years to cure, prevent or manage all disease within our children’s lifetime, significant backlash resulted. The couple planned to invest 99% of Facebook stock, but created an LLC instead of putting it into a foundation because it allowed them more funding flexibility. People couldn’t—and still don’t—understand this form of charitable giving. The definition of philanthropy is beginning to change for donors, and we must ask ourselves, what does this hold for the future of philanthropy?


3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. For more examples of current philanthropy trends, listen to the full webinar recording.
  2. Learn more about LexisNexis® for Development Professionals, a prospect research tool and fundraising solution, and contact a rep for a personalized consultation.
  3. Share this blog on twitter to keep the dialogue going with your colleagues and contacts.

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