Trends in Fundraising
As is the case in any industry, fundraising and philanthropy are continually going through new trends. These trends are spawned as 1) a response to cultural pressures, 2) developed freely in the minds of industry leaders, or 3) borrowed from other industries and adapted. Today there are two major trends and a myriad of minor applications (mini-trends), that are a direct response to the major trends in donation giving. Both of these major trends are born from a response to heightened cultural pressures. One trend deals with the overwhelming reality of consumer empowerment, while the other addresses the shift of communication and interaction from personal to internet applications. In this essay, we will develop both of these major trends and make application to the specific areas of fundraising and philanthropy. The first major trend is consumer empowerment. We have seen consumer empowerment across many industries for the last decade, and it is now making its way quickly into the psychology of philanthropists. What is consumer empowerment? It is the empowerment of the consumer, or in this case the donor, to decide how a product will be marketed to them. There are over 1.5 million nonprofit charities in the United States alone, which means there are more options and more information available than ever before (www.vault.com, [n.d]). With the advent of the internet a wealth of information now sits a mere click away. Fast fleeting are the days when a nonprofit can solicit for donations using only a single method. Now the donor decides how he wants to digest content, and how he will donate. There are many applications, or mini-trends, that come directly from the consumer empowerment mentality. One of the leading examples would be the desire for philanthropists to know exactly how their money will be spent, and the results their donations garner. There is an ever growing shift away from the annual large sum gifts given to an organization simply...
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