Every new president brings policy and economic changes that affect charities and their fundraising. Possibly never before has the nation been so uncertain about the future than with the new Trump administration, however. Changes can be good for you – if you adapt with them to keep being successful. Here is what you need to know about how fundraising will likely change in the new presidential era, and some concrete tips for adapting your fundraising strategy.
1. Fundraising in a new presidential era with new federal spending cuts
Even if you are not relying on Federal grants for your funding, proposed budget cuts nearly across the board in 2017 will most likely affect you in some way. The trickle effect of cutting Federal funding is that those agencies need to look elsewhere for their support (or close their programs). That causes a fundamental shift in how state and local governments decide to allocate resources. It also inspires individual donors, foundations, and corporations to start giving to different types of causes to save programs that might be more vital to their communities.
Though the budget hasn’t been passed yet, we can foresee drastic cuts or eliminations to grant programs with decreased budgets up to 31% (in the case of the EPA). Grants for environmental programs, arts, education, and community revitalization will be significantly reduced or eliminated.
Tip: Rely as little as possible in both federal and local government funding over the next few years and keep your eyes open to shifts in giving from the private sector. Likely there will be new opportunities!
2. Increases in federal spending
The new administration wants to spend more on Veteran Affairs (VA). Historically, the VA helps with hard costs for veterans and their families. The majority of additional grants are available only for business startup expenses or housing. Up to half of veterans suffer from some sort of psychological or stress disorder that is best aided by nonprofit and community resources, however. More funding for veterans’ services programs is long overdue.
Tip: Though we do not know how new funding will be allocated, some will surely go to new grants for veteran services programs. This is a fantastic opportunity for nonprofits across the board to integrate veterans’ services into their programs to tap into a new funding source and also to help and honor our heroes. You can do so by hosting a veteran’s appreciation day, integrating handicap access into your programs, or allocating free program passes or special trips for veterans and their caregivers. (More about raising funds for veterans.)
3. Changes in tax law
The Tax Policy Center advised that proposed changes in the new presidential era will cut giving from the nation’s rich by up to 9%, or $26.1 billion, as the new administration takes away incentives in tax law. However, Trump’s suggested changes would also give the top 1% of America’s wealthy an average of $200,000 annually in disposable income. If the economy improves from policy changes as well, they will have even more money to potentially give away.
Tip: Change your pitch to your major donor prospects from focusing on the tax deduction aspect of your appeal. Your donors might have so much more extra income this year that they are happy to give to you anyway. Connect them to their civic duty to be philanthropists. They are being empowered to choose where their social funding goes instead of giving it through taxes.
5. Corporate giving expands
More than half of the world not only seeks products with an environmental or social stamp of approval but will pay more for them. Corporations as a result give nearly half of their donations to “cause-related marketing.”
Corporations were already on track to give more and more to charities that help their brand and open sales in new markets. In the new presidential era, corporate America is expanding its role as civic champion to a whole other level. Apple and Google were among more than 100 corporate giants to speak out against an executive order travel ban for immigrants from certain countries when Trump first took office. Many protested with strategic philanthropy and not just words. Lyft pledged to donate $1 million to the ACLU over the next four years, for example. Corporate America will continue to throw its power and pocketbook as a counterbalance to policies that threaten their status quo.
Tip: Never has the time been better to expand your corporate giving program. Read our article on 6 steps to attract corporate sponsorship to get started.
Change can be both bad and good. Make the new presidential era good for your organization by staying informed and adapting your fundraising strategies accordingly!
Now, we’d love to hear from you. Have you already changed your fundraising strategy, or are you planning to? What specifically have you changed or are you planning on changing? Please leave your answers in the comments below!