top of page

While 2020 and 2021 were certainly not the years that most of us anticipated, a number of good opportunities and growth came from our shared maneuvering of a global pandemic. We spent more time with human and furry family and friends; we learned how to use technology to find efficiencies in our work; and most of us mastered at least one new banana bread recipe or cocktail with Ina Garten. 


And the same held true for those in the philanthropic sector. U.S. philanthropic activity rose in 2020 to more than $471 billion, the highest ever, according to Giving USA. And a June 2021 report by Penelope Burk’s Cygnus Applied Research indicates more than 3 out of 4 people said their 2021 giving would be as much as (if not more than) they gave in 2020.

As we look to 2022, what can an organization do to navigate this landscape? Whether you are a CEO, development officer, or member of the board, consider asking yourself and your colleagues as you prepare for a fresh year ahead:

What is our development strategy?

It’s not only about the tactics, but also our overall strategy to meet and exceed our goal. Do our resources, tools and people power align with bringing this strategy to fruition? If not, what do we need to do?

Opportunity v. Shiny Object Distraction

How do we as leaders (read: champions, cheerleaders and guides) of the organization’s contributed revenue stream differentiate between an authentic opportunity and a shiny (if distracting) idea? Commit to thoughtfully but swiftly weighing opportunities that could derail your development plan.

Remain focused on “the ask”

The number-one reason a donor makes a gift is because they are asked.  We all know that. But how often does a competing priority relegate to the second row the all-important gift solicitation? Depending on your role at the organization, dedicate protected time on your calendar each day, week or month to give prospects the opportunity to join your organization as a donor. 


Milestones offer each of us an opportunity to learn from the past while looking to the future. We encourage you to carve out even one hour at the close of this year to pause and prepare for the new philanthropic year to come.


bottom of page