New donors seen as richer, more discerning

As the world is changing, its donors are becoming wealthier, but also more controlling over how their contributions are used, a new report says.

In questioning fundraising experts about the future of donors and giving, nfpSynergy’s report, “The 21st Century Donor,” found a starkly different breed than the donor of the 20th century.

These changes are being driven in large part by a host of shifting cultural attitudes, the report says, including increasing importance being placed on the individual, a rise in affluence and free time, and people’s expectations of instant gratification.

At the same time, clutter in the worlds of information and advertising is increasing and the internet is changing how people find information, connect with each other, and ask for and give gifts.

To be successful in the coming years, the report says, charities must mimic businesses by creating brands that are distinct and can compete in today’s marketplace.

To appeal to discerning donors, nonprofits must show the impact their programs have, the report says, while offering a wider selection of “giving products” for contributors to choose from.

Donors also will want more control in how their money is used and may want to know what he or she will receive in return for their gift, including recognition, involvement or something more tangible.

With the emergence of social networking, fundraisers may benefit by finding ways to mingle opportunities for enjoyment and giving, such as fun runs and dinner parties.

And highly targeted appeals to specific audiences likely will be more successful that general ones aimed at the masses, the report says.

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