Thought Leadership

Navigating the Impact of Election Years on Charitable Giving

By: Dwayne Ashley, CEO, and William Allen, Executive Consultant, Bridge Philanthropic Consulting, LLC.

As we approach the 2024 US presidential election, the philanthropic landscape is brimming with anticipation and curiosity about how politics will influence charitable giving. It’s a topic that has been debated for decades, and understanding the relationship between political giving and nonprofit support is crucial for organizations aiming to navigate the challenges and opportunities that arise during election years. As a leader in the sector, the BPC Team will delve into the impact of election years on charitable giving, mainly focusing on the experiences of BIPOC-led nonprofits and the strategies they can employ to thrive in this unique environment.

Understanding the Landscape: Political Giving vs. Charitable Giving

Before we explore the specific impact of election years on charitable giving, it’s important to distinguish between political giving and charitable giving. These are two distinct pools of donors. Political donors tend to be younger, more evenly split between men and women and reside in diverse urban communities. On the other hand, traditional charitable donors come from various backgrounds and support a wide range of causes. It’s crucial to recognize these differences when assessing the potential impact of election years on nonprofit support.

The Impact of Political Giving on Nonprofit Support

Research has shown that political giving can impact nonprofit support, although the extent of this impact is a topic of ongoing debate. One study conducted during the 2012 presidential race examined the giving habits of 400,000 political donors and found that those who gave to political campaigns also increased their giving to nonprofits during election years. This suggests that political giving can stimulate charitable giving, as individuals may be more engaged and motivated to support causes they care about during election cycles. However, it’s important to note that this trend may not apply universally, and further research is needed to understand the nuances of this relationship.

The Unique Challenges Faced by BIPOC-led Nonprofits

While election years present opportunities for increased engagement and giving, they also come with unique challenges, particularly for BIPOC-led nonprofits. Research has consistently shown that organizations led by people of color receive fewer donations compared to their white-led counterparts, even when they focus on similar issues. This disparity can be attributed to various factors, including limited access to individual donors, microaggressions from donors, and a lack of understanding and support from funders. To ensure the success and sustainability of BIPOC-led nonprofits, BPC recognizes how crucial it is to address these systemic barriers and provide our clients with the resources and support they need to thrive.

Strategies for Success: Navigating Election Years

While the impact of election years on charitable giving may vary, there are several strategies that nonprofits, including BIPOC-led organizations, can employ to navigate this unique landscape and maximize their fundraising success. These strategies include:

1. AMP up your Cultivation Strategies with Your Donors

Partnering with other nonprofits, both within and outside their focus areas, and building authentic relationships with donors are essential in any fundraising endeavor, but they become even more critical during election years. Nonprofits should invest in cultivating relationships with existing and potential donors, ensuring they feel valued, heard, and connected to the organization’s mission. This can be achieved through personalized communication, donor appreciation events, and regular updates on the impact of their contributions. In short, building a strong stewardship program.

2. Leveraging Technology and Digital Platforms

In today’s digital age, technology plays a vital role in fundraising. Nonprofits should leverage digital platforms, such as social media, email marketing, and online giving portals, to reach a broader audience and engage supporters. BIPOC-led nonprofits can use these platforms to share their unique stories and experiences, fostering a sense of connection and inspiring donors to contribute.

3. Collaborating and Building Your Organization’s Impact

In an election year, collaboration and alliances become even more critical. By partnering with other nonprofits, both within and outside their focus areas, organizations can amplify their impact, reach larger audiences, and pool resources for more effective fundraising campaigns by partnering with other nonprofits area organizations within and outside their focus areas. BIPOC-led nonprofits can also benefit from forming alliances with mainstream organizations, leveraging their networks and resources to achieve shared goals.

4. Engaging in Advocacy and Civic Engagement

Election years present an opportune time for nonprofits to engage in advocacy and civic engagement. By advocating for policies aligning with their mission and engaging their supporters in grassroots campaigns, organizations can raise awareness about their missions and foster a sense of empowerment among their donors. BIPOC-led nonprofits, in particular, can be crucial in mobilizing communities and driving systemic change through advocacy efforts.

5. Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) should be at the forefront of every nonprofit’s strategy, especially during an election year. BIPOC-led nonprofits can take the lead in fostering DEI within their organizations. Organizations can create a more inclusive and equitable environment that resonates with donors who value social justice by prioritizing diversity in leadership, engaging diverse voices in decision-making processes, and addressing systemic inequities.

The Role of Bridge Philanthropic Consulting

As organizations navigate the impact of election years on charitable giving, partnering with a trusted advisor like Bridge Philanthropic Consulting can be invaluable. With our expertise in fundraising, civic engagement, and diversity and inclusion, we can provide nonprofits, including BIPOC-led organizations, with the guidance and support needed to thrive during election cycles.

By integrating the insights and expertise of Bridge Philanthropic Consulting, engaging in collaborative initiatives like Black Philanthropy, and leveraging resources from organizations like AFP and AADO, nonprofits can navigate the impact of election years and continue bridging the gap between philanthropy and social justice.

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