Nonprofit Fundraising Saw Major Changes in 2021

State of Non-profit Fundraising Report 2022

Among other insights, Greater Giving’s annual The State of Nonprofit Fundraising report reveals that despite uncertainty, nonprofits are overcoming obstacles and feeling more confident going into 2022.

2020 was consumed with a pandemic, strict restrictions on in-person contact, and a suffering economy. The State of Nonprofit Fundraising 2021 revealed that more than 60% of nonprofits fell short of their fundraising goals in 2020.

But live events seemed possible again in 2021, and the country looked to be on the road to recovery. Instead, the year brought two new COVID variants, ongoing financial strife, and ever-changing health guidelines.

Nonprofit organizations continued to struggle with program reductions, staff turnover and donor fatigue. However, The State of Nonprofit Fundraising 2022 found that in 2021, 25% fewer nonprofits fell short of their fundraising goals than in the year before, showing clear progress.

State of Non-profit Fundraising Report 2022

Read the full report to get access to these insights and more, and fundraise better.

What changed in fundraising events last year?

Fundraising events, especially in-person events, are making a comeback.

At the end of 2020, 59% of nonprofits saw limits on in-person gatherings as a significant challenge to meeting fundraising goals. While 45% still consider these restrictions a significant challenge, 71% of nonprofits held at least one fundraising event in 2021—whether online or in-person.

Nonprofits who leaned on virtual or hybrid models for their events learned from their experiences in 2020, and saw greater success in 2021. Compared to 38% the previous year, 48% of nonprofits were able to meet their virtual event fundraising goals in 2021. Of those who held hybrid events, 58% met or exceeded their goals.

How have revenue streams shifted?

Reliance on a single source of fundraising has decreased across the board. Whether it’s virtual or live galas, campaigns, or foundation and government dollars, nonprofits are widely reporting less reliance on an any single source of funding.

Government and foundation funding dropped the most as a revenue focus. Nonprofits who considered government funding critical to their annual revenue fell from 44% to 22%.  Foundation funding also fell from 54% to 47% going into 2022. The consistent trends since 2020 are that campaigns, online giving, and major donors have been essential to fundraising success.

The State of Nonprofit Fundraising 2022 report shows a greater focus on special events, major donors, and corporate funding. The data tells a story of a pandemic that caused incredible financial uncertainty and dried up live event revenue. As a result, nonprofits are no longer putting all their eggs in one basket. After two years of constant pivoting, we learned that the more flexible your organization can be with its funds, the better it can adapt to changing needs.

Looking forward to 2022, these trends reveal that nonprofits are focusing more on funding sources with fewer strings attached.

What does the data in this report mean for your organization?

Things are looking up for many—but not all—nonprofits. If your organization is one of the 17% still concerned about fundraising in the coming year, or the 17% just holding steady, take advantage of this data!


Read The State of Nonprofit Fundraising 2022 in full here for more insights from 2021, and critical fundraising information for 2022!

Nonprofits overwhelmingly told Greater Giving that 2022 is looking much more positive than the past two years. A full 66% of nonprofits reported that they are bouncing back, or already have great support for future growth.

Fundraisers and nonprofit leaders clearly feel a growing confidence in their capabilities and strategic planning. In 2022, 59% of nonprofits are planning to increase their fundraising goals. This is a huge jump from only 34% who raised their goals heading into 2021.

Fundraisers may also be feeling optimistic thanks to their incredible capacity to learn and adjust. New strategies for fundraising—from virtual events to ongoing online giving campaigns—have paid off.  More organizations are willing to try new things to address budget concerns.

The State of Nonprofit Fundraising 2022 Report

As your nonprofit is making its fundraising plans, remember that businesses are hiring again and many jobs are increasing pay as incentives. People may be in a better position to give back than they have been for years. Take advantage of this upswing to launch a fundraising campaign, plan a special event, or expand your network of major donors.

What’s next for you in 2022?

Take the time to sit down with your team to analyze what worked in 2020 and 2021, what didn’t, and why. Some methods may simply require some tweaks, like using more social media to promote campaigns. Consider modifying or retiring strategies and models that didn’t yield results.

The State of Nonprofit Fundraising Report highlights that there are many feasible revenue sources out there. And don’t underestimate the power of spreading the word and finding a wider audience. Engage donors at a deeper level in increasing overall fundraising.

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