The Nonprofit Times recently reported on the overall giving numbers for 2022: Individual giving, when adjusted for inflation, was down 13%.
To quote the Giving USA Annual Report on Philanthropy, “Inflation, economic uncertainty, individuals returning to previous giving levels after the pandemic surge and the decline in the number of donors are the key culprits in the drop.” But we already knew that 2022 was a soft year. Most of the Strategic Growth Analyses we have completed this year for our clients have shown similar declines.
My economic forecast of 2023 back in highlighted these same issues.
And how do I feel now, midway through 2023?
Actually, I am more optimistic.
There are several reasons I feel good about this fall. The latest inflation numbers are much better than they were a year ago. The price of gas and eggs, two common data points for most households, are down. Employment and job growth have remained strong. The stock market – at the time of writing this blog – seems to be on a mini bull-run. And, lastly, the “regression to the mean” I’ve been talking about (that donor metrics giving post-pandemic would eventually return to pandemic levels) has already occurred.
All this suggests to me that the fall of 2023 will be a rebound year for individual giving.
That means, it is not time to pull-back in your cultivation and acquisition budgets. One of the consistent truths in my 25-years in this business is that the organizations that get hurt the worst are ones that try to outguess the market and cut their fundraising budgets. That trick never works.