Sorry, but It’s Not the Economy
If your fundraising hasn't been going well, you might have been telling yourself it's not your fault — it's the economy. But it's not. At least not entirely.
If things aren't going well, it's probably your fault. (And if they are going well, it's to your credit.)
I've seen many fundraisers radically improve their fortune, even during the worst of the recession, by changing their behavior. I've had front-row seats at dramatic turnarounds that happened before, during and after the recession.
The truth is what you do has a lot more impact on your success than what the economy does to you. I'm not suggesting the economy is irrelevant. No question, it has hurt. But the bigger change we're facing is the baby boom generation.
Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) began to outnumber their elders in the donor-aged population starting in 2010. This monster demographic group is going to be the backbone of charitable giving from now until the mid-2030s.
Old-school fundraising built on the duty-driven psychology of the pre-boomer generation doesn't work that well with boomers. It's not all that persuasive to them.
And that's what's really hurting a lot of organizations. To reach boomers, you have to turn your focus on donors — to make your fundraising about their needs, not yours.
Below are some of the common ways fundraisers are leaving donors out of the equation — and doing a lot more damage than the economy has done. If your organization has any of these problems, you can expect your slump to go on indefinitely.
1. You have a self-centered brand
How much of your fundraising is focused on enlightening donors about the unique and excellent qualities of your organization? To the extent that your fundraising is that way, you have an inward-focused, self-centered brand. And it's killing your fundraising.