The state of fundraising is a philosophical and fundamental topic we find ourselves discussing with clients and amongst practitioners. From donor attrition to development staff retention, each fundraising challenge impacts how we, as fundraising consultants, do our work and how you, nonprofits, are able to impact your community.

What puts these topics into focus is the timely Critical Fundraising Report. A product of the international think tank Rogare, this report explores trends and critical challenges related to fundraising in the United States.

This 50-page report focuses on eight of the most critical fundraising challenges facing our industry today and offers recommendations for organizations, big and small, to increase their long-term sustainability. Worth noting is how public trust, diversity and inclusion, technology, and ethical standards play a role in securing philanthropic capital.

Of particular interest to me is the challenge of donor retention as nonprofit retention rates are hovering at 45 percent, according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project. Organizations are spending an increasing amount of resources acquiring new donors while losing more than half of their supporters from the previous year. This is largely a communication problem. Timely thank you notes, personal impact stories, and face-to-face engagement are proven strategies that move donors to reinvest in a nonprofit’s mission. Moving beyond events as the key fundraising activity, these personal communications build a genuine relationship between your mission and a loyal donor. The Critical Fundraising Report looks at this issue from a variety of vantage points and offers several causes leading to this crisis.

Against the backdrop of these recommendations, organizations can ask themselves if they have the financial resources and the fundraising talent needed to accomplish their goals.

Which areas of the report resonate with you? I would love to hear your thoughts. You can reach me at

Jill Dalager Brunner joined M. Gale & Associates in April 2018 as an associate. With 18 years of fundraising experience, she works with numerous clients to develop customized approaches for a variety of philanthropic needs.