DickersonBakker Blog

Nonprofits Must ‘Reimagine’ Fundraising to Prepare for Coming Generosity Crisis, DickersonBakker Says

RALEIGH, N.C. -- America’s nonprofit organizations need to “reimagine” the way they raise funds if they’re to ride out coming storms and thrive in the future, national fundraising firm DickersonBakker says. “We believe there is a ‘perfect storm’ coming that is going to have a massive impact on nonprofits in the future,” said Derric Bakker, president of DickersonBakker

According to Bakker, a ‘perfect storm’ is being brewed up by three separate trends that are converging at a time when many nonprofits are already struggling to survive.

Bakker refers to the first of these threatening trends as the “shrinking middle." Nearly three-quarters of middle-income Americans say their earnings are falling behind inflation -- and that spells potential trouble for the nation’s more than 1.5 million nonprofits that traditionally have been able to count on middle earners as their most reliable donors.

The second is related to generational shifts. Said Bakker, “Millennials and Gen-Z are radically reshaping philanthropy in ways that most nonprofits today are not adapting to effectively, leaving them at risk of being left behind.”

The third of these three advancing fronts is technological change. “There has been more technological advancement in our industry in the last five years than in the preceding 25 years”, said Bakker. “What seemed like science fiction just a few short years ago is fast becoming reality. Too many nonprofits are falling further and further behind, threatening their relevance in an increasingly connected world.”

Building an Agency Designed for the Future of Fundraising

According to Bakker, many nonprofit leaders see the changes coming, but they’re struggling to become ‘future ready’. They’re eager for solutions, but not finding them in the traditional marketplace, he says.

That prompted DickersonBakker -- a fundraising consultancy firm with nearly 40 years’ experience -- to launch a new direct-response fundraising service line that builds on the scope of fundraising services they currently offer to help nonprofits advance.

In describing how they came to this decision, Bakker explained it this way: “We recognized that we needed to help our clients rethink how they engage with donors across the entire fundraising continuum versus just at the upper reaches of giving, which has traditionally been our focus. It took a while to figure out how to make that happen. We considered acquiring an agency. We considered merger. In the end we decided we didn’t want to be encumbered by the baggage of a traditional direct mail agency and the best way for us to do this was to go all-in and build a new agency from the ground up that was specifically designed for the future of fundraising.”

Longing For Deeper Connection

“Whether they’re giving $100 or $100,000, donors want to know they’re making an impact, making a real difference,” said Bakker. “With new technology, we can give every single donor the personal attention they’re looking for, so every donor feels connected personally to the causes they care about the most.”

Donors are desperate for deeper, more meaningful relationships with the nonprofits they support, says Andrew Olsen, CFRE, Senior Vice President of DickersonBakker’s newly formed Fundraising Solutions service line.

Olsen, who was recently ranked in the top seven fundraising experts in the nation, went on to say that many nonprofits are missing the opportunity to connect with their donors in a meaningful way.

“Nonprofits and ministries are struggling to retain donors,” Olsen said. “The old way of doing things simply isn’t working. The philanthropic landscape has changed, but fundraising agencies that serve nonprofits are not changing fast enough. The answer is to explore creative solutions that foster long-term, authentic relationships with donors.”

Bakker reported that the firm is experiencing remarkable success rolling this new service line out, which he says is strong affirmation that the company’s approach is resonating with nonprofit leaders.

“DickersonBakker’s fresh perspective on creating a better way to fundraise, and the strategies they're crafting to treat every donor like a major donor, aligns with our philosophy,” said Gabe Cooper, CEO of Virtuous.

“We're thrilled to see what the DickersonBakker team is up to. Focusing on donor experience and creating programs and platforms that treat every donor like a major donor is a brilliant move -- especially in today's marketplace.” said Justin Wheeler, Co-Founder & CEO of Funraise. “And it's not lost on us that a firm with 40 years of successful major gift fundraising consulting experience had to go out and build a direct marketing agency because traditional direct marketing agencies still haven't figured out how to do this well.”

Founded in 1985, DickersonBakker has an unbroken track record of providing consulting services to nonprofit clients for nearly 40 years. The firm has helped thousands of organizations raise billions of dollars through capital campaigns and provides a number of other consulting services, including fund development, executive search, and grant services. With corporate offices in both North Carolina and Texas and consulting team offices across the country, DickersonBakker partners with groups throughout the United States as well as in Canada and overseas. For more information, visit www.dickersonbakker.com.

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