Here’s What You Missed: What Are Your Donors REALLY Thinking?

The last two years have been unusual to say the least and have created an uncertain philanthropic environment. While many donors have risen to the challenge, while we may think we know our donors, do we really? How are they feeling about their giving plan for 2022?

On January 20, 27 members and friends gathered via Zoom for a panel discussion with three expert advisors to learn how they are advising their clients and what their clients are thinking. Panelists included:
•    Julie Ellenbecker-Lipsky, president and senior wealth advisor at the Ellenbecker Investment Group (EIG). 
•    Jan Grimm, Certified Financial Planner™ with Riverwater Partners. 
•    Shelli Marquardt, president of the Waukesha County Community Foundation. 

Julie felt her clients were optimistic about 2022 and have a sense of calm, purpose. They are starting to focus more on what really matters. She helps them come up with a plan they can be comfortable with during any market activity/volatility.

Jan said her clients care about people and planet. They are unique in that they seek Jan’s firm because of their values. They are organically charitable people and have added on, not cut back. They are also coached to think about the long term. 

Shelli said her clients are focusing on what they want their legacies to be. A handful know exactly what they want to support, while a secondary tier has a general field they have an interest in. They are open to suggestions from Shelli and team about what needs there are in their community. 

The panelists were asked if their clients were experiencing compassion fatigue with the steady stream of recent tragedies such as the Waukesha Parade, wildfires, tsunamis, tornados, etc. None felt this was a concern. Julie said people want to make a difference. However, people are jaded with platforms such as GoFundMe and there is a bigger focus on trust and oversight. Jan agreed, stating her clients are doing more research and considering things like percent of funds spend on administration.  

There was also great conversation regarding donor preferences (e.g., community revitalization is popular now vs. capital campaigns), advancing equity in giving, different donors vehicles (DAFs, stocks, IRA distributions), and the mental health benefits of charitable giving. Attendees felt they heard a lot of great insights into what their donors were thinking and how they can best be approached. 

Join us Feb. 17 at 8 am for the virtual session “Dream it. Fund it. Build it. Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign?” David Malone, President of McDonald Schaefer and Kim Koch, Sr. Consultant will present on the topic of capital campaigns. Their fast-paced and insightful presentation will provide a well-rounded understanding of capital campaigns.