Fashionable Donor Trends in 2022

By now, you may have noticed particular trends, initial reactions or have gained feedback from your donors giving you an early signal of how your fundraising year is headed.


Maybe not in any specific “oh-my-God-I-have-psychic-powers-now” kind of way, but in a “trust-that-gut-instinct-a-little-closer” kinda way.


Have you noticed your supporters a bit more skittish when it comes to picking up the phone? Are your donors writing larger and more aggressive checks? Are you getting questions on cryptocurrency?


Are you getting bored with trying to guess on what these trends are and hoping a super reputable organization funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would just tell you what you needed to be on the look out for?


You’re in luck! Thanks to the Lilly School of Fundraising, you get a bunch of things to consider from interviews and research from really smart folks!


But wait, you don’t have time to read through a bunch of academic gobbledygook? You need a streamlined, almost blog-like summary of the important parts so you can move on with your day to do actual work in making your community more awesome?


Well, you’re in double luck! I’m just the guy to make that happen for ya!


I’ve done all the heavy skimming, cherry picked my top takeaways that you and your organization should be paying attention to in 2022, and how to take simple steps to ensure you can incorporate them into your fundraising plan!


1. Donors want more impact stories.


You know the drill. Tell your story and make an emotional connection with a potential donor to inspire them to give. But alas, that might not be enough for your supporters going forward. Your stories need to include what impact their gifts have made, and what their continued donations will do to help the mission.


Donors are signaling that the feel-good-conversations are great, but in order to tap into larger and more sustainable giving, you’re going to have to curate stories that talk about a larger impact that is sustainable going forward with continued and expanded giving.


Here’s the good news: you now have a roadmap. You know what to do. Take your success stories, tie them to the funding in which you received from those who support your organization, and lead your stories and communications with how that fulfills your mission.


You don’t have to reinvent your communication, just be more purposeful with what you present: Impact First.


2. Donors will give more to organizations they know or relate to.


Here’s a great takeaway from this: tap into those who know and love you more often than you are currently.


We are obsessed with finding the newest and bestest supporters out there, but it turns out that the biggest giving comes from those who know and love us the most. So let’s spend more time drawing from who we have and using their circle of friends as warm leads rather than chasing cold names on the list of “top business people” you found in a regional magazine.


The better an individual knows your mission, the more likely they are to give regularly and give more generously. So make it a point to take some time and have numerous deep-dive conversations about what impact they want to make in the community, and how your organization can help accomplish that.


In addition, chatting with those who support you the most is critical – as donors are giving to fewer organizations as a whole…but more to those they love the most. This has as much to do with donor retention than increasing giving!


Keep your besties close.


3. Donors want specifics.


Listen, I know what you’re thinking. “We’re gonna take the suggestion of using brevity when it comes to asking for donations from the guy who uses run on sentences via strings of hyphenated words?”


Yes. Yes you should.


Because it turns out that donors don’t want a gigantic menu of options when picking something to support at your nonprofit. They want clear and concise outcomes they can help produce through giving, and are searching for easily understandable goals, objectives…and yes, we’ll use the term again…impact.


When a donor asks how they can help, be prepared to give a specific answer based on what you know about the supporter. It’s as simple as that.


Have they indicated, through stories or through conversations, that they like programs that help kids? Well, then there is no need for you to talk about programs that involve adults.


Have they traditionally given to technology or STEM programs that your nonprofit works on? Well, then you could probably avoid listing off all the art and theater activities you need funding for.


The point is, get to the point.


All nerdy-call-outs aside, this is a really good bit of insight and a wonderful read – and I encourage you to do so. It’s free to download and distribute, and would make a great addition to materials for your board to encourage them to think differently about your approach with supporters going forward this year.


And remember, don’t stop and change EVERYTHING you are doing currently. Keep on keeping on.


However, these are great nuggets of donor information to consider as you have conversations, create pitches, and develop stories that engage the community.


Oh, and then you can say you’re totally up to date with current trends…without subjecting yourself to learning the latest Tik Tok craze.


Hooray! It’s a win-win!


Go get ‘em!


-Patrick