We all want to do good for the world. …But this can be easier in theory than in practice.
As givers, we often face obstacles that prevent us from experiencing the full impact and joy of our giving.
For nonprofit leaders, these obstacles can arise due to an inequitable distribution of resources, discomfort with the power imbalance between wealthy funders and small organizations, or “not knowing what you don’t know” about running the backend of a nonprofit.
In the wake of the pandemic and the racial reckoning, much of nonprofit research has been focused on how organizations responded to these major events over the past two years. A study by the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) outlines some key findings that are still relevant today:
- Nonprofits have changed A LOT over the past two years. 88% of nonprofits “developed new or different ways of working that led to positive outcomes.” Many of us witnessed these changes in real time, as organizations worldwide adapted to digital environments and were forced to acknowledge how their work/leadership may be harming historically marginalized communities. The NFF study concluded that while many organizations found themselves in a stronger financial position than pre-pandemic times, “we must also take action to ensure these gains are preserved well into the future.”
- Nonprofits saw increases in service demand. NFF found that 81% of BIPOC-led organizations and 67% of white-led organizations had more demand for their services. 64% and 47% of BIPOC- and white-led organizations, respectively, saw a ≥10% increase in service demand.
- While still experiencing challenges in funding and equitable resource distribution. 73% of organizations faced challenges in achieving long-term financial stability, a financial challenge that NFF labeled as “familiar” for nonprofits. Additionally, 66% of organizations had difficulty raising funds that covered full costs, and 55% had trouble employing enough staff. On top of these troubles, NFF research found that BIPOC-led organizations had less access to financial resources, particularly unrestricted funds.
Here’s where Givver fits in. At Givver, we are making a more sincere and democratized giving ecosystem. This means providing nonprofits with the resources and business planning they need to thrive, while allowing program leaders with lived-experience to serve their communities the best way they can.
Research shows that the most successful nonprofits exhibit strong business practices in their work. One study from Public Interest Management Group highlights the following factors as being correlated with organizational success:
- “Rigorous Planning. Collection of data and critical examination of internal capacities, external needs and constraints, and the financial and operational implications of key choices.
- Detailed Strategy. A clear theory of change, well-defined goals, financial projections, appropriate resource allocation.
- External Orientation. An externally-focused communication regimen that engages a range of constituents, such as supporters, public officials, funders, clients and community members.
- Disciplined Execution. Systematic use of established human resource management prac- tices, data in program management, fundraising and administration, ongoing evaluation of each of these areas of work and continuous improvement based on evaluation results.
- Balanced Mission/Business Culture. Values business functions on equal footing with the organization’s mission and supports the high-level priorities of program effectiveness, operational efficiency and financial health.”
Givver can help you achieve these factors and others that will help make your organization as successful and impactful as possible! Learn more about our nonprofit services here.
Furthermore, we will introduce you to a network of Givvers who share your commitment to repairing the world. Learn more about the benefits of our relationship-driven work.
For philanthropists, obstacles can manifest due to concerns about how (or if) the funds donated were utilized, uncertainty about the appropriate amount of a certain gift, or the feeling of being “used” by some nonprofits for funding without wanting collaboration.
In 2021, Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy conducted a study on how donors from affluent households approach giving. Using a random sample of 1,626 wealthy U.S. households, the study uncovered some figures that highlight common challenges in today’s philanthropic landscape:
- Donors face barriers before, during, and after the giving process. 39.7% of donors in the study indicated that they perceived “identifying what [they] care about and deciding what to donate to” as a challenge to giving. For the households that engaged in giving, a substantial amount had concerns about tracking the outcomes of their gifts (more on this below). Households reported several factors that could cause them to stop giving to an organization, including getting too many giving requests from the organization or too many requests close together, and believing that the organization was not effective or did not sufficiently communicate its effectiveness.
- Many donors are concerned about the impact of their charitable giving. An astonishing 56.4% of households reported uncertainty about whether their giving was having the intended impact. To make matters more complex, 74.6% of donors admit that they do not monitor the impact of their giving. Monitoring giving can come with its own set of challenges, including troubles with benchmarking, tracking, and even defining “impact”, depending on the mission of the receiving organization.
- Donors want to understand more about charitable giving. According to the study, 46.6% of donors considered themselves to be “novices” in charitable giving, 48.4 considered themselves to be “knowledgeable”, and only 5.0% considered themselves “experts”. Moreover, 65% of all donors indicated that they would like to become more knowledgeable about at least one aspect of charitable giving, including “becoming more familiar with non-profit organizations and how they serve constituent needs,” “integrating your values and charitable goals into your overarching wealth management plan,” and “engaging the next generation in philanthropic giving.”
Here’s where Givver fits in. A 2017 study from Fidelity Charitable found that 75% of donors had concerns related to navigating the donor/non-profit relationship. At Givver, we see the donor/non-profit relationship as an opportunity to maximize the impact and joy of giving. With this in mind, we are redefining philanthropy through connection, innovation, and mindfulness. This philosophy isn’t just wishful thinking– it’s also backed by numbers.
- Donors give when they believe they are making an impact. 45.1% of affluent donors are motivated to give when they believe that their gift can make a difference. This means that transparency and open communication are key.
- Giving can be innovative. With nearly half of entrepreneurs seeing themselves as philanthropists, it is more important than ever to engage in cutting-edge thought-partnerships. 61% of entrepreneurs “want to be personally involved in charities, as opposed to just making financial contributions.”
- Joy matters. 31.4% of affluent donors are motivated to give for personal satisfaction, enjoyment, or fulfillment.
Learn more about the benefits of our relationship-driven work.
We want to help you cultivate your charitable giving in a meaningful and intentional way- while protecting you from the at times “icky” parts of this work. Learn more about our philanthropic advising services here.