The Canada Helps Giving Report 2018 was recently released. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I highly recommend that you do. For me, it certainly affirms what we see and experience in our day-to-day work with our clients. The Giving Report 2018 hits the mark in driving some very timely points home!

We know that a shift in demographics (and giving patterns) is here and still evolving. The Giving Report highlights these very succinctly. A couple of points that made me take notice:

  • Canadians 55+ give more to Canadian charities than any other donor group. Not only do they give more, but they are the only cohort to increase their donations (by 3.4%) over the past decade. This group of donors is nearing or now in retirement. The tap is going to start trickling and then go to a slow…drip.
  • The population may be growing, but charitable giving is not keeping pace – we’re giving less than ever, by 4-6%. Donations are down in numbers relative to the population and down in amount, across all age groups.
  • “Canada’s charitable sector is facing an impending funding crisis”

Yikes. So what does that mean for us as fundraisers? I don’t think it means that we need to break out the doomsday plans. But we do need to get more deliberate with what we already do and do it with intention.

The way forward

Here are 5 things that you can do now (and might already be doing!) that will help you prepare for the shifting landscape:

1) While acquisition should not be your only focus, it must be an important element of your overall program. With a shrinking older demographic, continuing to add new donors to your database is key to your long-term success and sustainability as a charity.

2) Acquisition is expensive, but it’s an investment. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have had the conversation about seeing red when it comes to acquisition numbers. You seasoned fundraisers are nodding your heads…but it’s a hard one to wrap your head around if you’re new! Acquisition will cost you money, but if well thought out, you’ll have an ROI that allows you to sleep at night.

3) Growing monthly giving is where you have the opportunity to make some giant gains in your overall fundraising program (not to mention that everyone else will think you’re a hero for creating some financial stability). The “how” is something that we provide counsel on all the time and it really is easy when you have the right strategy and some consistency.

4) Stewardship is the path to retention and realizing your investment in acquisition! We all know that it costs more to acquire than to maintain. So when you do attract a new donor, love them like nobody else!

5) Finally, online giving is not going away and it’s worth jumping in with both feet if you haven’t already. On average, online donors consistently increase their gifts at a much higher rate than traditional donors (2.8% vs. 1.2% per year). My digital guru colleagues at Good Works have seen some programs grow by as much as 200% with some strategy and intention.

The Giving Report 2018 has so many great takeaways and hopefully these highlights will entice you to read more! I am grateful I am to those in the sector who continue to report on giving trends and provide analysis for us to ponder. As fundraisers and leaders, there are so many people counting on us to keep the giving torches burning.