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14 trends and omens

by The NonProfit Times - May 9, 2011

Many of us might not know where we’re going until we get there, but that lack of direction generally won’t cut it in the nonprofit world. In fact, it is an almost sure route to disaster.

Having an idea of what’s ahead can be extremely helpful, and that includes knowing where the roadblocks, potholes and dangerous turns lie. In his book “The Zen of Fundraising” Ken Burnett says there are several troubling trends and omens in the sector. They are:

  • Donors nowadays are much more discerning and more savvy.
  • Traditional fundraising methods continue to be less and less viable.
  • Worried donors increasingly hang on to their cash.
  • We face a possible decline in bequest income and in major gifts as well.
  • Resistance to fundraising direct marketing is increasing.
  • The hippie generation will turn out to be lousy donors.
  • We are putting off more donors than we inspire.
  • Too many fundraisers are chasing too few donors.
  • Public alarm at the cost of fundraising is evident.
  • Donors resent the big business appearance of many nonprofits.
  • New legislation is being passed to protect donors and control fundraisers.
  • Finding new donors is becoming unacceptably expensive.
  • Soon it will be a simple matter for donors to cut fundraisers out of their lives completely.
  • Short-term gain equals long-term suicide.


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