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Which Trends Will Have the Biggest Impact on How Nonprofits Accomplish Their Missions & How Does Donor Research Help?

February 03, 2021

As 2020 came to a close, one fact was crystal clear. The missions fulfilled by nonprofits matter now more than ever. But as Shavonn Richardson, Founder and CEO at Think and Ink Grant Consulting, writes in Forbes, “Unfortunately, they have to do so with less funding because in-person fundraisers have had to come to a halt and traditional ways of funding have been eliminated.” The pressure to do more with less is quite apparent in our newest trend report, “Key Trends for Development Professionals in 2021.” Read on for a sneak preview of the first two trends and a glimpse into how efficient donor research supports you on your mission.

Build up your corporate giving database to support more private sector collaboration

Meeting your fundraising goals may prove more challenging given the current economic climate and the ongoing need to keep donor events virtual. Even your most stalwart donors may need to dial back in 2021. Fortunately, the first trend on our list represents a way to find and engage new corporate donors.

More and more, consumers and investors believe companies should make a positive impact beyond profits for shareholders—by addressing the biggest issues society faces, from climate change to social justice. And that’s not the only pressure. Companies must also recognize that consumers and investors have raised the bar and won’t just buy into a mission statement on a corporate website. They want to see real proof.

With authenticity on the line, partnering with nonprofits is a good way to bring visibility to a company’s corporate responsibility efforts. But to take advantage of this opportunity, development professionals need to optimize their corporate giving databases. With a donor research platform like Nexis® for Development Professionals, you can research companies to find organizations with missions that align with your own. Identifying corporate partners that have a natural affinity for your mission can help you make more compelling appeals that encourage collaboration.

Managing the risks and rewards of consolidating services

Smaller nonprofits, already operating on shoestring budgets, are the subject of the second trend in our report. As mentioned above, demand for the services of many nonprofits has grown as communities deal with the fallout of the pandemic and resulting economic upheaval. In order to fulfil their mission, experts expect smaller organizations to pool their resources to better serve their communities and compete more effectively against larger organizations. A donor research platform is a critical tool for several reasons.

  • Before partnering with an organization, nonprofits need to conduct some basic background research to avoid associations that could put them at risk of reputational or financial damage. Capture a big picture view of potential red flags by conducting a search for negative news articles or reviewing public records* for signs of financial instability like bankruptcy filings.
  • Using a donor research platform also helps nonprofits explore new potential partners, such as reviewing current donor connections with other charitable organizations. Your missions don’t need to be an exact match; when seeking partners for community-based projects, you can look for organizations that have complementary missions—and current donors that can help you get your foot in the door.

Are you ready to take advantage of the trends set to impact development professionals in the coming year? Download our trend report to learn more about the two mentioned here, as well as three additional trends—subscription giving, going virtual and accelerating tech adoption.