Why the Slowdown in Giving to EDU?

Is the downturn in total donor dollars to EDU an opportunity to refocus on planned giving?

Is the downturn in total donor dollars to EDU an opportunity to refocus on planned giving?

Giving USA's key annual report told a story of nearly flat growth in giving for 2016. And for education, after two years of 8.4% and 9% growth in donations to education, 2016 saw only an increase of 2.3%. Compared to all other non-profit sectors, only religious entities saw slower growth in giving than education.

Should we be concerned?

Normally I'd point out any variability in key major gifts, but 2016 had some real whoppers.

Where'd did the slowdown occur?

Given that this is a story about dollars and not donors, I'd say it isn't in participation that things faltered, but, rather, middle of the pyramid giving. Why would those gifts, specifically, slow down?

Invariably it comes down to prioritization of major gift officer time. Today, of course, we focus on the Phil Knight's and Larry Ellison's. We have to. But after folks like them, how do we next prioritize our fundraising activities?

Engagement. When engagement and mid-career success intersect, we're in a unique position to drive at planned gifts. It is remarkable how much of planned giving donor segmentation, to us, sounds more like "small major gifts" and not "passionate donor activation."

What if you knew that someone's career was advancing more rapidly than their peers and they were highly engaged with your institution and you knew what they were passionate about at your institution? Might you tack them onto a trip for a major gift officer? You bet you would.

Using a map, engagement scores, and topic modeling, that's exactly what we do in QuadHub:

Planned giving can, at times, be tough to scale. However, if you leverage a major gift prospect visit as an anchor to build a handful of hyper targeted planned giving prospect meetings around, you might just find your total dollars ticking up!

Nick Zeckets