Fundraising Predictions for 2021

Jan 12, 2021Fundraising, Fundraising Success, Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy

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How can we even think about fundraising predictions for 2021?

Wow! What a whirlwind we have been in, not only in 2020, but these first days of 2021 with unrest in our nation.

I know you will agree — it’s time to focus on coming together as civil members of society and work to make our world and communities a better place.

Indeed, that’s what nonprofit work is about – coming together for the greater good. In fact, we do what we do because we crave meaning and purpose. That’s why we practice gratitude, find focus, and discover meaning when possible. We support or work for causes — through nonprofits — we are deeply passionate about.

3 Fundraising Predictions for 2021

So as nonprofit leaders and volunteers, how can we support our nonprofits in this new year?

Certainly, we cannot predict what’s in store for 2021. BUT some certainties can guide us in succeeding this year.

Here are three top predictions for nonprofits for 2021.

Are you ready?

#1 PREDICTION – Charitable Giving Will be Like Never Before

2020 proved just that!

We saw record giving – large and small — as people stepped up to help their favorite charities –arts, education, technology, and the environment, for example — and help those in crisis and dire need due to the pandemic and economy – the homeless, underrepresented, seniors, and small businesses, for example.

Without question, it has been an incredible year for giving and virtually joining arms, even when marred by serious issues and unrest.

Americans are tired of the division in our country and want to come together for the good of mankind. Needless to say, nonprofits are in a unique position to give people opportunities to make a difference – to contribute to solutions or address needs meaningful to them.

As nonprofits, we focus on a problem or need and draw people together to contribute to what work that matters.

No doubt, giving will continue to be at record levels into 2021. That’s my prediction.

#2 PREDICTIONClear Messaging will Win Donors

Nonprofits, if you are not clear on who you are and what you do, you will lose donors.

Whether you are communicating through newsletters or one-on-one, you must be clear on what you are trying to accomplish and what transformations are possible.

Revisit your mission statement. Then ask yourself, “do the words I use resonate with potential donors? Do donors clearly see how their dollars will make a difference? Do donors feel valued by my responses to their gifts?”

If not, get clear on your messaging to donors now.


#3 PREDICTION – Following a Fundraising System Ensures Success

To raise money, we don’t wake up each day and move aimlessly hoping someone will respond to our mailings and blasts.


We have a fundraising plan, and we work the plan.

So many nonprofits leaders do not know how to fundraise. Many ended up in nonprofit work because of their profound belief in the mission. That’s not a bad thing!

Though, to no surprise, they lack the necessary training to secure large gifts for their organization.

As with many of us, we attended galas, auctions, and tournaments, for example, and saw this as fundraising.

Event fundraising is transactional and not the best way to secure long-term, loyal large-gift donors.

Summary: Fundraising Predictions for 2021

In summary, strap on your heartfelt belief that our country can get back on the right track.

Plan to do your part – either as a nonprofit leader or volunteer.

Above all, embrace these three fundraising truths for 2021—

  1. People will continue to give generously to their causes. Thus giving will continue to be at record levels into 2021
  1. Clear messaging wins donors
  1. And last, a fundraising system implemented at your organization ensures success.

Other Resources:

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Costly Political Conversations with Donors

Donors’ Motives for Giving in a Crisis

Don’t Overlook Your Most Loyal Donors During a Crisis

Fundraise During a Crisis: What’s Working?


Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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