And the saga continues.
Last week we talked about the ‘swell of pandemic giving’ in a blog post that can be found here.
Despite the devastation that the COVID pandemic has caused globally, philanthropy in general, has been a seemingly bright spot in an otherwise dark period in American history. And with the year winding down, donors are proving to continue their generosity displayed earlier this year.
So as we (gleefully) close the door on 2020, how do we appropriately plan for 2021, with a balanced eye towards progress and risk mitigation simultaneously?
For many organizations, 2020 proved to elevate revenue in ways not experienced in recent years, if not decades. And while welcome, given the unexpected nature of this increase, using 2020 revenue and performance trends as a baseline for future projections would be too aggressive, if not negligent.
In addition, many of the leading indicators of fundraising performance, like the stock market and unemployment index (which is not projected to flatline until 2024), are no longer reliable data points because fundraising performance has been consistently outpacing these indices for months during the pandemic. And while there may be reasons for that specific to this instance, it’s a critical point that we cannot ignore in our planning.
For that reason, MINDset is entering 2021 with cautious optimism. Using 2019 as the baseline, we are viewing 2020 as the suspicious stepchild she has been. The first quarter of 2021 will be very telling – and if the trends currently experienced hold, we may be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. We won’t say “no” if these trends continue, of course!
As an industry, we may have work before us in understanding how potential new external factors and indicators are now correlated to what we can expect in fundraising – so that’s something we will need to monitor closely as our country returns to normal sometime next year. However, after the crazy year it has been, this seemingly ‘small’ task will be a welcome one.
Cheers to a fantastic 2020 fundraising finish and an even better start to 2021.