14. The Future of Individual Giving



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About this episode

In this episode of Intentional Fundraiser Podcast, I'm talking with Tim Sarrantonio, the Director of Corporate Brand at Neon One. They're a provider of innovative, end-to-end nonprofit software solutions. We're talking about The Future of Individual Giving, something that we are all keenly interested in.

Tim is an internationally renowned speaker on generosity, technology, and all the trends in the social goods sector. After helping causes raise more than $3 million, he moved to provide support for thousands of nonprofits. Through his work at Neon One, he has spoken at the AFP international conference, NTEN conference, and TEDx. And, Tim holds a certificate in Philanthropic Psychology from the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy.


Our guest

Tim Sarrantonio, Director of Corporate Brand, Neon One


"Focus on people, no their money."  

- Tim Sarrantonio, Director of Corporate Brand, Neon One


A quick peek

Tammy Zonker: The report aims to answer the question, where is individual giving going in a post-pandemic world? Tell us about this exciting report, the research behind it, and what Neon One sees for the future.

Tim Sarrantonio: It's already out of date is one of the things I started observing is that there was a lot of stuff being published, a lot of digital inc getting put out there. But when the pandemic began, everybody, one, didn't know what to do. And two, in turn, when our sector, specifically for the nonprofits, started getting advice, it was based on information from 2019 at best, maybe January 2020 at best. So when I kept seeing this, and I kept seeing advice on both sides of the digital versus you need to just keep doing direct mail or stop fundraising, all that type of stuff, all this weird advice that kept coming out, I said, well, what's the actual reality here? Because we live in a media environment where it's hard to understand what exactly truth is. And so I said, okay, how about I just read everything that's come out as much as possible? Books, journal articles. I went back and got my JSTOR account reestablished, like the whole shebang, blogs, PDFs from companies all over interactive dashboards, whatever, right?

Tammy Zonker: I've had the privilege of fundraising in the city of Detroit for close to 15 years now. The population is 86% African American or identifies as black. It's fascinating to me how generous that community is and how they gravitate to causes where leadership, like the executive director, the CEO, the founder, are people of color. And why is that? It's because they see that they are welcomed and they belong. And so when we look at when any of us hold up the mirror and look at our boards, do we have boards representative of our communities? Do we have executive leadership that is representative of our communities? And if the answer is no, they're fooling ourselves that we will cross that threshold into inclusiveness.

Tim Sarrantonio: Two points on that, and that's really powerful stuff, too, because it opens up the question of, again, identity in many different ways. So that's something that I love unpacking. I think it's one of the most important questions that we can ask ourselves is basically, who are we? And why do we matter? If you, as a nonprofit professional, are even struggling right now, it is more than okay to say, why have we always done it that way?



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Links mentioned in this episode 

Generosity Exchange



Books mentioned in this episode 

Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Thinking, Fast and Slow


Connect with our guest online

Twitter / InstagramLinkedin / FacebookWebsite / Email


Connect with Tammy Zonker on social

You can also connect with Tammy on Twitter and Instagram at @tammyzonker, and on LinkedIn.


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