By Stacy Lee Gardner, Founder & CEO, My Philanthropy Team

The past twelve months have taken what we have historically considered fundraising norms, thrown them into a big pot, tossed in a heaping cup of uncertainty and a pinch of trepidation, and then dumped it all upside down in a big sloppy mess on the floor. Ugh. Not the menu I had planned for 2020.

But I’m betting that hasn’t stopped you, has it? As fundraising professionals, we are a creative and perseverant lot. We’re not about to let a global pandemic, political upheaval, and a national reckoning on racial justice keep us from raising the philanthropic support needed to meet the needs of our collective communities. In fact, these crises have only put a big fat exclamation point behind our determination and underscored the need to meet our goals. Afterall, to have a reckoning with any one of these meaningful issues will take an engaged and informed community—and who better to help guide us through these difficult conversations than our social benefit organizations?

While it’s certainly not true for every nonprofit, many of My Philanthropy Team’s clients experienced greater-than-expected fundraising results in 2020. Those whose missions are most closely aligned with critical social services such as food, shelter, and healthcare, fared among the best. But we also saw successful fundraising initiatives among organizations whose missions are not directly related to the COVID-19 health crisis or any other “break out” issue. Still, when all is said and done, we cannot underestimate the impact of the pandemic, a turbulent political climate, and the long-overdue illumination of America’s systemic racism when considering how the events of the past year have influenced philanthropy—now and most likely well into the future.

So how do we take the “new normal” and navigate our way to the fundraising promised land? From emergency appeals to on-line galas to virtual capital campaigns we have witnessed nothing short of inspired brilliance from our clients and colleagues. And fortunately, in many cases, this creativity and heightened need has been met with an abundance of generosity and goodwill from donors wishing to help.

We’ve rounded up a few articles that our team has found to be among the most interesting and illuminating in terms of how the events of 2020 have shaped nonprofit fundraising. These reads are bursting with insight, offer new ideas, and report on winning results.

Karen Hopper, Senior Data Strategist at M+R writes about What 2020 year-end fundraising can tell us about 2021 and draws some interesting conclusions about the role of SMS texting and how on-line ads contributed to a 22% increase in revenue while reducing expenses by 11%.

For an insider’s perspective on how nonprofits are using technology to rethink the delivery of services, how we raise money, and the future of constituent engagement, check out Nonprofits and Inevitable Digital Transformation by Keith Heller, Founder & Chief Strategist at Heller Consulting.

And finally, MPT’s own Senior Digital Strategist, Michael Stein writes for Tech Soup about Nonprofit Fundraising in the Age of Uncertainty. Michael points to five ways that development professionals can survive these tough times and emerge with positive approaches to donor engagement and fundraising.

Let’s Connect on the Issue!

We’d love to hear directly from you about your trials and triumphs and how your organization has adapted to the new normal. We invite you to share your experience with us by responding to a brief questionnaire or by scheduling a 15-minute interview with one of our team members. All participants will be entered into a drawing to win your choice of a $50 Visa gift card, or a one-year gift membership to WOC, Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy, or WOC’s sister group, Allies in Action. What’s not to love about that? And if surveys aren’t your bag, just shoot me an email and share what’s on your mind. I can be reached at I look forward to continuing the conversation with you.

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