With confidence down, it’s time to double your year-end efforts

Holiday shopping’s big weekend was a little lackluster this year.  Total spending over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend dropped 3% from 2012. This didn’t come as a surprise to retailers who knew that in the third quarter, consumer spending was the weakest it’s been in nearly four years.

CPI vs. Giving

The slump in consumer confidence is an important trend for fundraisers to follow as well. The chart below compares total monthly giving (from Atlas of Giving data) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) (as well as a 12-month moving average to help smooth out giving seasonality).


As the Great Recession comes to a close, giving tends to trend very closely with CPI. Confidence was down this November, hence soft sales at the stores this year. December is forecasted to be down as well, which might mean soft revenue for the all-important, so-called “Giving Season”—(Thanksgiving through the end of the year)—when many non-profits raise 30% or more of their annual revenue.

Bucking the trend

While the forecast is soft, the trend is still up compared with 2011 and 2010. It’s not too late to do everything you can to effectively reach your constituents at year-end. From maxing out your digital plan to fully integrating your on- and offline channels, there is still a lot you can do to round out the year and provide your constituents with an opportunity to buck the trend and “make a life by what they give.”