Given the market volatility of 2020, along with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no surprise that this year’s giving results are almost impossible to project.

Historically, the predictors of giving in America are the previous year’s data, S&P 500 performance, and personal income growth. Given the market volatility of 2020, along with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no surprise that this year’s giving results are almost impossible to project.

In a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article, nonprofit organizations reported significant increases or declines in fundraising results. Those nonprofits that have expanded services to meet needs created by COVID-19 are doing well. Theatres, arts organizations, and some educational institutions that have shuttered or decreased services are struggling to survive. Most nonprofits are finding new ways to measure fundraising success.

Fundraising goals are being kept as targets, but other goals are being considered. For example, the standard for fundraising professionals of only tracking face-to-face interactions has relaxed. Fundraisers may count phone and virtual meetings as meaningful donor contacts. Asking someone to get on a 20-30- minute virtual call saves the donor time in getting to and from an in-person meeting. While new donor engagement can be more difficult in a remote work environment, organizations are focusing on increasing contact with existing donors. Digital communication via email, social media, and text allows us to push out information on philanthropic impact as it happens.

Learning to communicate with donors in new ways will help us achieve fundraising success.