Bad Economic News: It's Not Over Yet
The economic news is not good. Across the globe, we continue to struggle with a recession that won't let up. Consumer spending is down. Retailers are nervous. No one knows what's to come of the 2011 giving season or 2012.
This is a tough time for nonprofits too. According to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, "changes in giving are linked to changes in the overall economy. During good economic times, giving tends to grow robustly. However, when the economy grows at a moderate or slow rate, philanthropy continues, although at a slower rate of growth. In general, during economic downturns, giving tends to decline, after adjusting for inflation."
We've all heard the tragic stories of families and individuals rocked by job loss, protracted unemployment and upside-down mortgages. Maybe this is your story too.
You can't change the economy, but you can do your best to keep your fundraising on track. Here are five steps for fundraising in a recession and making the most of the year-end.
1. Keep asking
While your instinct may be to stop asking your donors for cash in a downturn, this is the worst thing you can do. Need doesn't go away in a recession; in fact it often goes up, and your donors know this. Give them the opportunity to say yes or no to your appeals. It is your responsibility to continue to tell your story, ignite passion for your cause and ask for support.
2. Think like a retailer
If you want to make more money at year-end or any time of the year, provide gift-giving opportunities in addition to opportunities for charitable donations. You don't need to create a four-color catalog today. You simply need to:
- Provide specific detail on what a $20, $50 or $100 gift will do.
- Provide a mechanism for generating gift receipts. This enables you to "double-dip," i.e., gain access to the holiday gift-giving and charitable-giving sides of your donor's wallet.
3. Focus on retention