With Much Uncertainty – Optimism?

total_giving_17-18The latest outlook report from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has been published and the news of the moment is good over the next two years.

Philanthropic growth is expected to grow by 3.6% in 2017 and $3.8% in 2018. All donor segments are expected to increase. Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • Foundation growth will continue to lead the way, 5.9% in 2017 and 6.0% in 2018.
  • Estate giving is expected to increase by 5.4% and 5.2% respectively.
  • Giving by individuals is predicted to grow 3.0% and 3.2% respectively.
  • Corporations will continue to lag behind all other sources of giving increasing by just 2.4% and 2.7 % in 2018.

The report focuses heavily on health, education and public-sector benefit organizations as they will be the beneficiaries of the largest percentage of this growth.

Of course, all of this assumes that the economy will keep humming along. Some economists are already looking to 2017 and predicting a recession. Jay Zagorsky, @Prof_Jay_Z,  an economist at Ohio State University recently wrote a column for PBS NewsHour, I’m predicting an Economic Recession in 2017. Are you Ready? Even without a recession over the next two years growth predicted by this report means that philanthropic giving will continue to outpace annual GDP.

In the two years covered in this report, individuals will comprise 79% of total giving. If you are an organization of culture the two takeaways from this report are that your bread and butter will still be individuals and more importantly their estates. Estates will account for approximately 9% of the total share of individual giving.

Do you have a strategy for capturing this growth?

No matter how successful your current campaign, the Lilly report means there is room for growth. How can you capture and cultivate your share of donors?

First, your internal systems must be able to feed you the information needed to take action. Do you have data systems, a CRM, that can capture information? Its not enough to put information in the CRM, you have to be able to get it out – quickly. Apart from ease of input, the single most important feature is your ability to report on your data. Can you:

  • Identify those individuals new to your organization?
  • Track interactions between staff and donor prospects?
  • Track how current donors and board members are affiliated to your new prospects?
  • Segment your donor levels and identify which current donors are prospects for upgrades?
  • Communicate in a timely and trackable manner through e-mail marketing with your donors?

While these five points are just a start, it is important to note that there is no reason to collect information if you can’t turn around and employ it to your benefit. By leveraging information, your organization can set itself up for strong growth in the coming years.

To read the full Lilly Family School of Philanthropy report go to The Philanthropy Outlook 2017 & 2018.


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