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Jul 24, 2023

Election Year Giving

The Presidential Election of 2024 is still months away. But already people have been asking me how I think the election will affect giving.

Every 4-years I get asked this question, and every 4-years I give the same answer: Not much.

But just so you know I’m not relying on my gut, I looked at giving patterns in September through December for over 50 nonprofit organizations for the past 10-years. This data is from individual donors only and excludes gifts greater than $5,000.

Five of those years there were no elections (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 & 2021); in three of those years there were midterm elections (2014, 2018 & 2022) and in two years there were presidential elections (2016 & 2020).

Here’s the graph. Can your eye pick out the election years?

Between 2013 and 2019, giving across these organizations incrementally increased each season, regardless of whether there was an election.

In the last three years, we have seen a significant increase in giving. The top two lines (2020 & 2021) are pandemic response.

And last fall (2022) was the third best. Donors continue to be generous. So, all this noise on LinkedIn about fundraising being broken or bad is simply untrue. If you take out the abnormal pandemic years, fundraising is working rather well, thank you very much.

So then, my recommendation for fall 2024 is: full speed ahead. Fundraising is working now. It will work during the next election year.

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