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How Will National Disasters and Mass Shootings Affect Q4 Giving for Non-Profits?

Contact: Steve Newton, 757-547-5400

CHESAPEAKE, Va., Oct. 17, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Steve Newton, President & CEO, Newton Media:

    Fourth quarter is upon us and as we look to our strategic forecasts that we all put in place months ago, I know many of us are asking, should we consider adjusting our course? Moody's Analytics is estimating the cumulative financial impact of damage from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria at $150 - $180 Billion. Puerto Rico is in a humanitarian crisis, and the mass shooting tragedy in Las Vegas is heavy on everyone's hearts. How will all of this impact donor giving in Q4?

    If we look back over the major national disasters of the last 10-years, we find that donors contributing to disasters are short-term. A recent Huffington Post article noted that "disaster donors" tend to give online and activity peaks at up to 3 days after the event of the disaster, but then tend to drop off quickly. Long-term donors dig deep and give when disaster needs arise, but also give to several organizations on an on-going basis.

    Online giving continues to grow, and is up 9.6% over last year....overall giving to non-profits is up almost 4%. Giving to religious organizations was slightly up 3% and giving to arts and animal organizations increased 7.2% Historically, faith-based organizations as a group, receive the largest share of charitable donations in the US – and this held true in 2016 based on Giving USA's report. We will have to wait and see how the final numbers work out for 2017.

    Response to TV fund-raising programs are no doubt impacted by these events. As people are drawn to breaking news, we see low viewership and call counts. Fortunately, we typically see this as a short-term impact that typically follows the cycle of the 3-day disaster giving spike window.

    In the end, how do we appeal to our donors and stay relevant in the days, weeks and months following these devastating events? Americans have big hearts...the capacity and ability to express their compassion and continue to give based on biblical principles. Based on the historical giving data, Non-profits should stay in their main lane this Q4 - And stay laser-focused on their core demographics and messaging. Those organizations that can take their best-performing messages and distribution platforms and tailor them to align with current events, will continue to win donors hearts, minds and dollars.

    In the meantime, we pray for our nation and healing for those who are suffering from these disasters and mass shootings.