The fundraising landscape is changing rapidly. Some of those changes make raising funds more challenging, but there are new tools to use and resources to access too. Based on media coverage from the past year, let’s look at the five fundraising topics you’ll need to master to have success this year.

Donor-Advised Funds

Donor-advised funds, which are vehicles used by corporations and other groups to distribute charitable donations, account for a significant portion of all donations, and that amount is only trending upward. Even individuals and families are participating in these funds now as a means of helping others in a safe, productive and simple way. These funds often have application processes and other requirements, and learning how to request money through these channels successfully is crucial moving forward.

Sizable Donations from Major Donors

A large percentage of all donations are made by a very small group. This group comprises the biggest donors, and the competition for their gifts is fierce. Just as you must learn to navigate the channels of donor-advised funds, you must learn what big donors want, how to compete for those gifts and how to retain that charity once you have it.


In the opener, we mentioned the changing landscape of fundraising, and social media on the Internet, and in particular crowdfunding, is the leading cause of that change. This platform provides you access to more financial resources and a wider audience, and when a crowdfunding effort is successful, it can go viral and grow at a rapid pace. The environment is also quite different than from traditional fundraising, and it often requires rethinking our approach.

Fundraising at Year-End

The key to fundraising successfully on a consistent basis is having a strong push to end the year. The final quarter of the calendar year is when the majority of donations happen. This is when organizations and even individuals know how much financial flexibility they have before reaching the write-off cap. Year-end fundraising is so important that you should begin planning for the next one now.

Fundraising Outside the Box

A consistent them here is competition. Competition is fierce. You need to distinguish your organization, and you need to engage donors in new and interesting ways. This is more than just putting a clever spin on a bake sale. Nonprofit professionals must analyze their markets and create business strategies just as for-profit professionals do.