|This post was originally published in The Rome Group Insights, December 2013.
With the New Year almost here, The Rome Group Insights asked the leaders of three local associations of funding organizations for their predictions on the giving climate in 2014.
Mary McMurtrey, Director of Community Engagement, Greater St. Louis Community Foundation:
“The Community Foundation works extensively with donors and their professional wealth advisors. Many of our wealth advisors anticipate strong returns in the market in 2014. This has the potential to positively impact charitable giving due to the direct correlation between market performance and giving.
“We should continue to see financial stability in 2014 through conservative budgets, continued collaborations, and strategic partnerships.”
Deb Dubin, CEO & President, Gateway Center for Giving:
“Generally, our members expect their giving levels to be about the same in 2014. However, a few may support one-time, large-scale civic projects this year, thereby narrowing the distribution of their giving to fewer organizations overall, when compared to past years.
“The biggest concern remains the economy. Continued uncertainty in the marketplace impacts our members across the board, whether family foundations, corporate foundations, private foundations or sector-serving businesses.
“One corporate funder suggests nonprofits consider making requests beyond just financial ones. Are in-kind services a possibility? Does the funder have staff members with skill sets that can be shared? Can you leverage corporate funders’ desire to see their employees engage in meaningful community service?
“One of our private foundation funders said nonprofits should build outcomes evaluation into their asks. It should be part of the program’s DNA, and not something to be treated as ancillary. All of our members also want to see evidence of collaborations — how are you working with others in the infrastructure to accomplish your mission?”
Kathleen Osborn, executive director, The Regional Business Council:
“Our economy is slowly recovering, but we continue to live with fiscal uncertainty. While corporate giving might rise as our economy continues to recover, businesses will utilize a newly refined discerning eye. With an increased emphasis on making every donated dollar meaningful, corporate donors will concentrate their charitable efforts on nonprofit organizations that bring real value and measurable outcomes to the community.
“Thus, United Way will continue to be a vehicle to serve those with the greatest need. Funders, including the RBC, will rely on the organization to invest the funds most appropriately and provide oversight and direction to their member organizations.
“We are concerned with the proliferation of nonprofits and the ability to sustain and fund them. The days of “feel good” giving are behind us, and corporate donors are closely examining their charitable options. Donors are more likely to fund organizations that collaborate, that eliminate redundancy and that have a clear capacity-building plan.
“Nonprofits should concentrate on using donations to affect touchable, measurable outcomes. They should focus their efforts and make their goals and audiences clear to donors. They also should consider partnering with other nonprofits both to maximize their exposure and to avoid overlaps in services.”