A New Fundraising Paradigm: Should NPOs let advocates take over fundraising efforts so that they can focus more of their resources on making an impact?
The evidence is alarmingly apparent that the next generation of donors will be much more focused on social impact. The recent CompassPoint study and a report from Dorothy A. Johnson for Philanthropy both identify a change in the way Millinnials will approach philanthropy when they inherit the $40 trillion in wealth from their parents and grandparents. This means that non-profits will need to focus more of their time and energy on impacting the cause that they represent if they want to position themselves to be able to compete for these funds. Organizations that have traditionally allocated time and energy to marketing and advertising will be criticized for being wasteful. In our opinion, this change is completely exhilarating and will lead to charitable giving that is more effective than ever before. On the other hand, the new model will surely be the demise of many non-profits unless they shift their approach…and fast.
The main message in our December blog post, “How Millenials Can (and should) Change the Way We Give”, points to the fact that donors often deserve more results from the money they give to non-profits. However, we also address that fact the current system and the forthcoming donor expectations are somewhat counterintuitive.
Non-profits are expected to spend more money getting results while simultaneously spending less money on fundraising and recruiting new advocates. If Gen X/Millennial donors are truly dedicated to social impact results (and we believe they are) then fundraising events should eventually be a thing of our past. Theoretically, donors should simply seek out non-profits that have the most efficient and effective model for impacting the cause that they support, ultimately putting their money where they get the most “bang for their buck”. Things brings up a few questions:
- Will this eventually put an end to fundraising events altogether?
- Will donors get to a point where fundraising events actually hinder their perception of the non-profit enough to turn them away?
Opinions on this topic vary, with the majority believing that fundraising events will always be an essential part of NPO strategic development. Regardless of your stance, you cannot deny that the future of philanthropy will require non-profits to allocate more of their resources to impacting the cause they represent. How do you begin to position your organization to make the most out of inevitable change?
Should NPOs let advocates take over fundraising efforts?
With many Millennials still paying off college debt, and the fact that some are decades away from inheriting the aforementioned wealth it is still too early to expect any huge influx of funding from this generation in the short term. But as the research shows, Millennials are ready to start making a difference and influencing that for which they are passionate about. They are ready to start taking the wheel, so why not let them?
Millennials are completely capable (and frankly more savvy) at using today’s tools to communicate, motivate, and organize support for the things that interest them. They can influence peers more effectively with their iPhone than many events can do with an entire committee. Millennials are already coordinating events through apps like Meetup with complete ease and impressive results. So why not begin to develop turn-key fundraising solutions that advocates can adopt and run with? Not only does this eliminate the overhead of an event, but doing so allows advocates get involved at a more personal level while acting as an ambassador for their favorite non-profit.
What do you think, should NPOs start letting advocates take over fundraising efforts?