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Rossi’s Roundup: Don’t forget about DAF donors in your year-end appeals

Email 5.23 Rossi’s Roundup (1)Thank you. A sincere thank you to those nonprofit organizations that took action due to the wildfires in Maui and the Pacific Northwest, as well as the aftermath of Hurricane Hilary in Baja and Southern California and Hurricane Idalia in Florida.

Thank you for helping in every way you can, from boots on the ground, providing water, food and a place to stay for people and animals―as well as flights and transport. Aren’t we all glad that we have nonprofit organizations filled with compassionate people and focused missions?

On another note, I’ve been thinking about donor-advised funds.

Many donors are now making gifts of $100―and even less―from their DAF. Most of these gifts are soft credited, and many times the DAF coding is removed from direct mail appeals. So, I wanted to call out this special group of donors and ask you to make certain these individuals are indeed receiving a year-end appeal.

Speaking of year end, it’s time to discuss your organization’s data governance with your strategist and account manager. Make certain clear rules are reviewed and set for DAF coding and that these DAF donors are included in your strategy.

1. Stewardship Showcase: Reporting Back to Donors 

Time to showcase how the Humane Society of Missouri is beautifully reporting back their donors’ feedback on a recent survey in their upcoming newsletter. This article is letting donors know their top survey choices. Even better ― that their comments and opinions were heard and appreciated!

We know surveys increase donor retention, especially when results are reported. Additionally, donors who didn’t respond will most likely respond next time because they will see there is value in their opinions. Applause to the Humane Society of Missouri and their development team!

2. The 2023 Giving Experience: Research Study into the Mindset of Today’s Donors

A recent report from OneCause, a fundraising technology company, found that the people it defines as social donors continue to be motivated by missions they care about and easy ways to give to their favorite cause. Now that they’re flocking back to in-person events, they have higher expectations.

3. CFOs Are More Optimistic on Side-Stepping a Recession

Costs remain a concern, but a strong labor market and moderating inflation have assuaged finance chiefs’ worst economic fears.

Finance chiefs at companies from Chipotle Mexican Grill to Yelp have grown more encouraged throughout the year that the U.S. economy will skirt a full-blown downturn. Still, they are mixed on whether it is time to unwind some of their belt-tightening or pursue new avenues of growth.

4. Fundraising.AI Virtual Summit Will Focus on Responsible AI Use in Nonprofit Fundraising

RKD Group is proud to be one of 20 partners/sponsors of the Responsible AI Fundraising consortium. The group gathered together most recently at The Bridge Conference for robust conversation and planning for the summit.

The exciting intersection of Responsible AI and philanthropic fundraising takes center stage Oct. 23-24 at the inaugural Fundraising.AI Virtual Global Summit. Available free and directly to any desktop or mobile device, this first-of-its-kind virtual summit is an important milestone in shaping the Responsible use of AI for everyone working within or for the nonprofit sector.

We are still in the early stages of AI transformation, and risk mitigation and collective effort and input will be needed to develop and implement models of capacity building that drive long-term success across the sector. The Fundraising.AI Global Summit will be a seminal opportunity for nonprofit professionals, service firms and developers to learn, share and co-create best practices together.

The Fundraising.AI Global Summit ushers in a new era of understanding and guiding AI's potential and its application in the realm of nonprofit fundraising. Presented by world-class experts and practitioners, the two-day event offers an exploration of diverse, compelling topics — from AI governance, to deep learning and cloud computing, generative AI, change management, automation and beyond.

Register for free for the Fundraising.AI Global Summit.

5. AFP-FEP Q1 Benchmarks Released

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) released its latest results for the first quarter of 2023, revealing a seventh straight quarter of donor decline. Donors were down 3.8% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter of 2022, though dollars were roughly equal.

In a weird turn of events, retention was up 1.3%, even though it’s fallen across many types of donor categories.

Over the last 10 years, the stability of donors who contributed over $5K drove a 69% increase in total donations. Now, these major donors are also demonstrating significant decline, donating nearly 10% less in Q1 2023. As these donors account for nearly three quarters of total dollars donated, their decline will amplify volatility and uncertainty for charitable organizations in 2023.

While total new donors continue to decline, donor retention also showed significant weakness at the beginning of 2023. Retention decreased across all donor categories in Q1, with recaptured donor retention falling almost 20% from an already low level.

The weakness in donor retention was compounded by a steep drop in new donors and dollars given by new donors, creating a troubling paradigm for charitable organizations. New donor counts fell by nearly 20%, and new donors gave 34% less in Q1, reinforcing sector reliance on long-standing donors (though this group also declined by 5%).

Last year’s FEP numbers were promising in some areas until year end, so there is still time for nonprofits to improve results by connecting with disengaged donors and building stronger bonds with loyal donors. 

6. Summer Heat Waves Add Pressure to Nonprofit Economy

1. Inflation is cooling, unemployment remains low and the stock market is making gains. Something more elemental—the weather forecast—took a toll on nonprofit finances in July. Across the country, heat waves, wildfires and flash flooding made charities’ jobs tougher.
2. Gross Domestic Production rose at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the second quarter, up from 1.1 percent in the first three months of the year and a sign that the economy is growing steadily.
3. Inflation fell to its lowest annual rate in over two years in June, with prices increasing 3 percent over the previous year. That rate of growth is lower than the 4 percent logged in May. While the rate remains above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent, inflation has cooled significantly since reaching heights of 9 percent last summer.
4. The National Unemployment rate decreased slightly to 3.5 percent in July, close to its lowest level in 50 years.
5. Consumer Confidence rose 11.2 percent in July from the previous month to its highest reading since October 2021, as measured by the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment. That indicates that Americans have become more optimistic about their finances.
6. The Stock Market: For the past several months, the stock market has largely rallied around signs that inflation is improving and excitement over new technologies like AI. One benchmark equities index, the S&P 500, ended the month up 3.1 percent in July. Another equities index, heavily weighted with tech stocks, the Nasdaq Composite, closed June up 31.7 percent over the start of 2023, its best first half since 1983. 

7. U.S. Inflation Means Families Are Spending $709 More per Month than Two Years Ago    

The typical American household spent $709 more in July than they did two years ago to buy the same goods and services, according to Moody’s Analytics.

The good news is that wages are finally starting to outpace inflation and consumer price growth has eased significantly, so much so that many investors are betting the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates.

Looking at just the last year, Moody’s chief economist, Mark Zandi, calculates that the typical household spent $202 more this July than they did a year ago to buy the same goods and services.

8. The Economy's New Inflation Story Is Here: 50 Charts Tell the Story about Markets and the Economy Right Now

Inflation in the U.S. has been cooling. And with this, we've seen the story for investors around consumer prices moving from inflation to disinflation in the summer of 2023.

The new Yahoo Finance Chartbook (50 charts) revealed that investor attention around pricing pressures has become squarely focused on disinflation, a key feature of any soft landing.

9. 7 Ways To Encourage Your Donors To Upgrade Their Giving 

Moceanic - Fundraising Courses & TrainingGreat reminder lessons from fundraising expert Sean Triner:

  1. Get their details right
  2. Thank donors promptly, powerfully and personally
  3. Do a great job at reporting back on the impact of their giving
  4. Use hyper-personalization
  5. Have superb donor service
  6. Do excellent fundraising (relevant, action-focused)
  7. Track what they do

Have you ever heard of a donor who called up and said, “I’m ready to become a mid-value donor now!” It doesn’t happen. They tell you by their actions.

10. Foundation Giving May Rise Slightly in 2023 as Assets Overcome Recent Slump  

Giving by U.S. foundations could see an uptick this year, based on estimates in the latest quarterly report by FoundationMark. The company, which tracks grant makers’ investments, estimates giving in 2023 could reach $90 billion. That’s slightly higher than the 2022 preliminary giving level, based on the tax filings available so far.

The rebound in assets could enable an increase in giving, assuming stock markets stay roughly at current levels or increase. FoundationMark estimates that during the first half of 2023, grant makers’ assets increased almost 8 percent as global stock markets recovered from a tough 2022.

11. Check out more great posts, podcasts and webinars

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Lisa Rossi

Lisa has decades of experience working with animal welfare organizations. An accomplished fundraising strategist, Lisa helps our clients craft effective strategies that lead to growth and high-value donors.

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