A Recap: Marnie Spears Talks Trends

Every time KCI’s Marnie Spears speaks to our Chapter, there is a keen interest from the fundraising community in our region. This year’s “The Changing Face of Philanthropy” presentation was no different. Marnie shared her insights with a packed room of fundraisers and friends, bringing to light the issues our sector faces and how we can push past them.

In case you missed it, here are some highlights from her discussion that we hope will help you navigate the path ahead for your organization.

Firstly, we are at a turning point for philanthropy. Canadians’ definition of philanthropy is changing to one where charities aren’t necessarily the avenue through which donors are giving. Crowdfunding and directly supporting individuals or causes mean that donors can ‘do good’ without the traditional charity. The rules are changing and charities and not-for-profit organizations have to keep up…

  • The number of donors is decreasing, but the average donation is higher.
  • Volunteer rates are down.
  • Donors are overwhelmed by choice when it comes to giving – once they narrow their focus on a charitable sector (health, social services, education etc.), there are a multitude of organizations doing similar and equally great work. How can we help them choose?
  • Gap between large and small charities is growing.
  • Keeping talented fundraisers is a challenge.

So what can we do about it? How can we grow the organizations we work for while keep both new and existing donors giving?

  • A balanced focus on retention and acquisition is needed – we can’t focus on one and neglect the other.
  • We need to get to know our donors – create a welcome program, ask them what they want, segment your donor lists into common characteristics based on what the donor wants to hear.
  • Invest in your talent – professional and leadership development are key.
  • Develop your champions – look at board recruitment and ensure board members can advocate and support the fundraising initiatives of the organization.
  • Develop our champions – as a sector, we need to advocate for philanthropy in our community and collaborate to have a collective voice.
  • Focus on what Canadian donors want:
  • Something to believe in
  • To decide for themselves
  • To share their giving with others, and
  • A direct connection to impact.

Using Marnie’s tools, we can push past this inflection point in philanthropy to engage donors and collaborate with each other to advance philanthropy in our country.

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