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Our Hopes for Donor Relations in 2022 and Beyond

As I look onto 2022 and any new year, typically filled with optimism and hope for the future, I have to say honestly, I feel like tip-toeing into 2022 and not turning the lights on yet. We’re all facing year two of a pandemic, with more uncertainty than ever. COVID-19 and its variants have many of us feeling shakier than ever. So how do we overcome these feelings? Do we?

How do we cope when it feels like we’ve been coping for forever now? The most simple thing we can do is acknowledge our feelings and those of our teammates and address issues and opportunities as they arise. All of this aside, what do I hope for the future of our profession? Here are just a few things:

  1. Embracing our role as stabilizers in the fundraising profession and value-added roles like compliance, gift agreements, reporting, and other proactive ways to prevent problems.

  2. Turning more to video and digital as a primary communication means not just nice options to lean into in a pandemic. It’s here—let’s get comfortable.

  3. Self and Team care—taking care of ourselves, our mental health, and our team’s mental health, finding balance, and realizing that while our work is important, it isn’t everything.

  4. The Great Resignation is here and has reached donor relations deeply. How do you retain your staff? How do you replace staff when they leave? What can you outsource? These are questions a lot of shops will be asking in 2022.

  5. Assessing your program now. A lot has changed in the last two years and five years—when was the last time you took a look at what you’re doing and really assessed what’s on your plate and the ROI of those efforts?

  6. Avoiding the return to “normal”—there is no more normal. Don’t run back to the way you always used to do things—some of it was broken! Examples include rubber chicken events, recognition societies based on dollar amount, and honor rolls.

What do you see changing in our profession in 2022 and beyond? How are you adapting and evolving? What is the current ethos like within your organization and team? What are your hopes and concerns?

Just remember, we’re in this together. If you need help, it’s ok—reach out anytime.




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