Assessing Declines in Unrestricted Giving

Posted on 04/17/2013

Has the unrestricted gift lost luster with donors? This chart suggests that may be the case.

Unrestricted Giving Trend 1984-2011If your annual fund isn’t performing at the level you expect (or need), then it may be time to rethink your strategy. Start by asking a few basic questions:

  • Do you only count unrestricted gifts in your fund totals? If so, why?
  • Is your approach institutionally-centric or donor-centric?
  • Does your case for support highlight generic needs or specific priorities?
  • Would your donors be more inclined to provide regular support if they had more control over how their gifts were used?

It may be time to stop stressing the importance of unrestricted gifts and, instead, to encourage donors to support those areas within your organization that matter most to them. It’s really their institution. It’s your job to remind them that their institution can be as great as they want it to be.

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