As US President Donald Trump proceeds to sign executive orders as I write this, a number of national and international nonprofit organizations either reap the rewards of such directives or run headlong into an unannounced fire drill(s), or a combination of both. What can you do, in your prospect development positions at your organization, no matter what side of the order your organization’s mission is on? It helps to understand the mindset of your major gift donors. Fortunately, there is a lot you can measure and track to help your organization navigate the year 2017.
Everyone has just survived this toxic election season and now what? Many super wealthy people (i.e., HNWIs) reportedly have already prepared for a doomsday scenario. They’ve likely purchased property and/or signed up for residency in New Zealand. They are also likely reconsidering their philanthropic focus, either through impact investing, refocusing their foundations, or both. As the Trump Administration proceeds on its march to slash funding for social causes, some nonprofit organizations will thrive in terms of private funding as a result.
Look at the donations to the ACLU as a result of the immigration ban executive order. In just two days, the civil rights organization had received $24 million. The ACLU stated it usually receives $4 million in donations ONLINE in a good year; so, yes, this is six times the amount they usually receive online in one year received in two days. Celebrities and venture capitalists were also pledging to match donations to the organization via Twitter. The ACLU recently partnered with Y Combinator to learn how best to use this new-found money.
“Wait, Lori,” you might say, “Y Combinator is for startups.” Y Combinator, which usually takes an equity stake in companies accepted into its program, is not taking a stake in the ACLU. Read the link to the Forbes article for more information.
Kal Penn, actor from House and Designated Survivor TV shows, and former Obama staffer, after receiving a comment on Instagram telling him to go back to his own country (FYI, Kal was born here in the US, in New Jersey), continues to raise significant donations for the International Rescue Committee. As of this writing, Kal’s Crowdrise fundraiser has raised $830,475.
In addition to the above, you also have the fact many of the usual political contributors with significant amounts of disposable income abstained from donating politically this past election season, because they did not feel strongly about either of the major party candidates. Where did that money go, and where is it going to go now?
In this challenging and dynamic environment, what should you do as a prospect development professional? Get well-versed in wealth and philanthropic advisors’ advice – you can easily find this via wealth management articles and stories about philanthropy directed at HNWIs and UHNWIs. What are your prospects and donors being told to do during this uncertain time?
As an example, among the advice being distributed is the following from Arabella Advisors:
As a prospect development professional, you can assist your organization, even if your organization is not one focused on social welfare or human rights, by identifying and tracking how your donors’ philanthropic interests may shift or are shifting (or have shifted). This philanthropic interest shift also happened during the Great Recession, so this is something you likely were doing back then as well. If not, no time like the present!
Consider the following in your strategy:
As a prospect development professional, you really can and should contribute to your organization’s strategy during this time of rapid change. You can do this by through viewing this challenge as an opportunity to show the power of data as a business asset.
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