End of the calendar year is a busy time for us in the nonprofit industry. Every donation needs a thank you letter, every year the annual report needs to be more informative but also more interesting, the board is meeting to approve the budget for next year, the 990 needs to be filed.
This rush at the end of the year generally centers around money - something many "outsiders" consider a necessary evil in the nonprofit world. Nonprofit organizations rely on regular donors to support their missions and sustain their impact. Individual donors can often have more of an effect on the day to day work of a charity than a major corporate grant. These personal connections, the $100 a month from a neighbor or family member keep the lights on, keep the workbooks printed, they put coffee in the coffee pot.
This year was an election year in the United States (my apologies to potential international readers, I'm going to tend to skew heavily States-ward, since that's where I do my work!) and because of that we have seen some interesting trends in giving.
According to Nonprofit Quarterly, Blackbaud's analysis of Giving Tuesday gifts "reports only a 20 percent increase in the value of the gifts it processed yesterday, for a total of $47.7 million. While the number looks impressive, the rate of growth is far less than in previous years."
However, advocacy and civil liberties groups have seen a tremendous increase in donations since the election. Individual donors saw a perceived need and rose to the occasion in record numbers. The ACLU reported website crashes the day after the election because of the donors flooding in.
So what does this mean for nonprofit organizations in general? Will this trend continue of overall giving declining but certain groups getting an influx of cash? What is your organization doing to prepare for the changed political climate, and with that a potential change in giving levels?