Nonprofits Face 7 Critical Trends Says New Report

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A newly issued report from The Donor Motivation Program reveals the seven critical trends facing nonprofits that are putting increasing pressure on charitable organizations and hindering their efforts at fundraising and planned giving.

The 7 Most Critical Trends Facing Nonprofits In 2013… And How To Respond
If raising support wasn’t already difficult enough for today’s nonprofits, a recent report uncovers seven critical trends facing nonprofits that are hindering their efforts and increasing the costs of major giving and planned giving programs.

If raising support wasn’t already difficult enough for today’s nonprofits, a recent report uncovers seven critical trends facing nonprofits that are hindering their efforts and increasing the costs of major giving and planned giving programs.

“Nonprofits face some of the most challenging times in their history,” says Scott Keffer, creator and CEO of The Donor Motivation Program. “Our latest research uncovered seven critical trends facing nonprofits. Fundraisers and nonprofit leaders need to understand these trends and take immediate action to minimize their effect on their organization’s fundraising and planned giving programs.”

Planned giving is a confusing subject by itself and its role in the health of an organization is often misunderstood. Nonprofits depend heavily on healthy endowments for their financial security and planned giving plays a vital role in the growth of endowments.

“Planned giving programs play a key, yet often misunderstood role, in a nonprofit’s security and in securing the organization’s future,” says Keffer, internationally renowned keynote speaker, consultant and author of ‘Giving Transform YOU!’

Recently, Keffer and his organization released their newest research, ‘The 7 Critical Trends Facing Nonprofits…And How To Respond.’ They have been producing highly sought-after presentations on the challenges facing nonprofits since 2001.

“Our first research project began back in 2000 in response to nonprofit fundraising and planned giving professionals who kept telling me how hard their job had become and how they were struggling with the economic challenges during those times,” Keffer recalls. “So I decided to help by calling together twenty leaders in the fundraising community for the first Charitable Leaders Forum.”

Keffer hosted the forum and led the charitable leaders through various interactive exercises to help them articulate and understand their biggest challenges. At the end of the time, they wanted more. They asked Keffer to dig deeper and find out what was happening in the planned giving industry.

That prompted Keffer to commission a research project to discover the challenges created in the new millennium. After tens of thousands of dollars of research, the first report was unveiled in 2001, ‘The Top 10 Planned Giving Challenges.’

“Eighty five charities gathered to see the initial presentation of our research. At the end, they again asked for help on how to respond to what we uncovered.” Keffer continues, “As a result, we created an assessment tool, The Planned Giving Landscape, to help a nonprofit discover the impact of the challenges on their organization and uncover the hidden donor opportunities in their future.”

Each year, the presentation is updated after combing through reams of available research and data and uncovering challenges and trends. Since 2001, the presentation has been seen by planned giving officers, major giving officers, executive directors, nonprofit presidents, board members, directors of development and planned giving professionals across the United States and Canada. The Canadian version outlines the trends and challenges unique to Canadian charities.

The Donor Motivation Program, according to Scott Keffer, the creator of the turnkey planned giving presentation system, has helped leading North American nonprofits double the results from their planned giving efforts with limited resources since 1995. Keffer said the program began licensing consultants in 2004 as demand for the program exploded.

“A number of fundraisers have called our system ‘donor motivation in a box’ or ‘planned giving for dummies,’ in a good way. It’s due to the fact that we’ve worked long and hard to create a complete, A-to-Z planned giving presentation program,” notes Sharon Dorbritz, director of operations for the program, who heads the training for the consultants and their teams on how to better serve nonprofits.

“We have to show nonprofits how to reach more donors with fewer resources. These dynamics have forced us to create the most cost effective, time efficient planned giving presentation system,” Dorbritz stressed.

Keffer said that economic realities and looming uncertainties have forced donors to reshuffle their priorities and reevaluate the role of charity in their futures. “Uncertainty fueled by mixed economic indicators may have moderated giving by individuals,” reported Giving USA in their latest report.

One of the seven trends outlined during the presentation is that charitable giving, as a whole, was only up very slightly in 2012, according to Giving USA 2013 Annual Report.

Giving from individuals, who make up over 70% of all giving in the US, has yet to recover to 2007 levels.

A second trend that the presentation points out is the explosion of new nonprofits since 2000. The result is too many charitable organizations chasing too few dollars.

“Giving USA indicates that a half a million new charities have been created since 2000, half of them since 2005,” Keffer said. “In fact, the number of charitable organizations registered with the IRS is double the number of businesses registered during the same time period.”

Regardless of the current trends, William B. McCready, director of development at Allegheny Valley Hospital Trust, who has more than 30 years in development experience, said he brought The Donor Motivation Program to the Medical Center based on the experience that the hospital had 15 years ago with the United Way.

“I remember the successes,” McCready said. “Whenever I think about planned giving, I think about The Donor Motivation Program. It works. That’s why I brought it to the hospital when I came here.”

Dorbritz pointed out that tens of thousands of donors have engaged in its Donor Presentation Experience and rated it either one of the finest or the absolutely the best of its type.

Jon T. Trainor, director of development at the Akron Museum, who has more than 25 years in development experience, is one of them who rated the program as the best of its type.

“After a quarter of a century in development, I’ve seen it all,” Trainor said. “The Donor Motivation Program is the best planned giving program I’ve seen. I was blown away. We were very successful in our very first year. I’d highly recommend it.”

In terms of who would benefit from this interactive presentation, Keffer notes that any planned giving professional will benefit, yet also executive directors, presidents, board members and directors of development have all walked away better equipped to deal with the trends.

The presentation is currently being shown throughout the nation and is available on a limited basis for planned giving council meetings, planned giving symposiums, as well as board meetings. To bring the presentation, "The 7 Critical Trends Facing Nonprofits… And How To Respond", to your organization, association, or group, find the consultants near you by searching on

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