A Glass Half-Full Approach to Fundraising for 2024

As I prepare for 2024 with optimism, I’ve been reflecting on this past year.

In 2023 we saw the end of the pandemic. However, the effects still linger, and many of us may find ourselves feeling apprehensive about the state of the economy.

It’s costing many non-profit organizations more to fulfil their missions. Meanwhile, the demand for their services is already high and growing. At the same time, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals Fundraising Effectiveness Project (and a number of other sources) the number of donors and the level of giving is down year over year.

Here’s why my glass is still half full.

There are reasons for optimism. The rate of inflation in the U.S. and Canada is dropping. And according to Adobe Analytics Cyber Monday sales were up 9.6% over last year, suggesting that consumers have some disposable income. At the time I’m writing this, we’re seeing signs that the results from our client’s Giving Tuesday campaigns will exceed last years and are going into end-of-year digital fundraising strong!

And we are seeing some other interesting trends in the market. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding and promises to bring a myriad of opportunities to fundraising. We’re exploring those as an agency right now and are looking forward to sharing our thoughts in the new year. Beyond AI, other technological advances abound. In the online world, customers can make purchases with one click and get almost instant delivery. Certainly, donors will expect that we’ll offer an equally seamless experience.

There’s a lot to think about! To help you with your planning, here are some 6 tips for keeping and growing your donor base as you plan for 2024:

  1. Keep calm and fundraise on.

    Remember, without the resources that come from fundraising there is no mission. Fundraising takes investment, but that investment pays off in the long run. We owe it to our beneficiaries to keep asking them to give.

  2. Grow – and steward – your monthly donor file.

    Did you know a monthly donor is 7 or more times more valuable than a one-time gift donor? And while results for single donations are down, the good news is that revenue from monthly giving remains steady. But you must steward your monthlies well.

    Want to learn more? Learn more about ST’s JAM Collective and how to become a part of a rich conversation about transforming your monthly giving program.

  3. Ensure your organization is privacy compliant.

    Your privacy officer should undertake an annual audit. And remember, a big part of privacy compliance is to ensure that you comply with your donor’s communications preferences. Not only will this keep the privacy office from your doorstep, but it will also help you retain your donors.

    PRO TIP: I’ve had a recent experience where I tried to change a monthly gift, however, I was ignored. Do a quick mini audit of your organization – put your donor hat on and give your donor team a call. What’s the response? A live voice? A voicemail promising to get back to you (followed by silence)? Rate your experience as a donor. Here are some tips to keep your monthly donor coming back for more.

  4. Invest in your people.

    Your team matters. Work smarter not more. Being busy doesn’t lead to successful fundraising. Here at ST, we are proving that. We have adopted a four-day work week. Our folks tell us they appreciate the extra time off, while our clients tell us we continue to offer exceptional service. Check out our tips for staffing success. And meet the amazing people who make up ST.

  5. Lean into technology.

    Go Mobile. According to Fast Company, the largest single driver of online shopping on Black Friday was mobile, at over 50%. Meanwhile, according to Blackbaud, less than 30% of donations are being made through mobile devices. The sector has a lot of catching up to do. Increasingly your donor base will be demanding a frictionless one-click approach to donating, and they will expect to do that on their mobile device. Get ahead of the curve before it’s too late.

    Embrace AI. Know what’s out there. Find great partners, like ST, that will help you navigate the everchanging world of AI at your organization to help you raise more money. We’re successfully helping many of our clients find their way around this brave new world. You can dig a little deeper into some of my thoughts on this topic here.

  6. Back to the Future

    We live in challenging times, and there’s an uncertainty that reminds me a little bit of the early days of the pandemic. In response, we are going to have to be as nimble as we were back in 2020. Keep a regular pulse on what matters. Low hanging fruit will be important. And that means keeping and upgrading your best donors.

    And while you can’t change what’s happening out there, you can change how you manage through it.

    Finally, a gentle reminder that we’re all going to have to lean into grace and kindness as we head into the new year.


Keep calm and fundraise on, my friends,


P.S. If you want to have a chat about any of these topics, or how you can raise more money in challenging times, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to talk. 416 690-8801 ext 235, or reach me at paulaa@stephenthomas.ca

Paula Attfield, CEO of ST

Paula Attfield, CEO of ST

Paula has been a fundraiser for over 27 years. With Paula, it’s all about results — helping ST’s clients raise more money to fulfill their missions. For more on our success stories give Paula a call at 416-690-8801 x235