Advancing an Organization During Challenging Economic Times
3. Motivate. Redouble efforts to help motivate everyone with a stake in fundraising — development staff, administrative leadership and trustees — by reminding them of the resilience of philanthropy in tough times.
4. Open new doors. Encourage trustees and volunteers to help open doors and introduce new potential supporters to the institution.
5. Increase prospecting. Reorder prospect lists to reflect the current state of affairs. Undertake research to help identify new potential donors and sectors of support.
6. Encourage challenge gifts. Explore the possibility of donors making challenge or matching gifts to stimulate giving from others and multiply the impact of their gifts.
7. Share philanthropic information. Share important results and good news to motivate leadership and temper expectations.
8. Introduce payment flexibility. Provide donors with greater flexibility in fulfilling their commitments, including extended payment periods, and planned and deferred giving opportunities.
9. Reaffirm mission and impact. Reaffirm your organization’s mission and continuously remind donors of the impact and urgency of philanthropic support.
10. Explore diversification. Wherever possible, explore practical ways to diversify your fundraising program; for example, by establishing or expanding a planned-giving program.
Flexibility with donors and internally within your organization will bolster fundraising efforts. Weak economies may result in longer campaigns, lowered benchmarks and reordered prospect charts.
However, economic downturns also can offer certain opportunities for diversifying a donor base, establishing or expanding a planned-giving program or offering more volunteer opportunities.
Keep your cause in front of people, constantly reaffirming your mission. Make sure people understand how important their support is, in whatever form. Take advantage of the moment to educate your leadership, reinforcing fundraising fundamentals. Then, when the time is right, your team will be fully prepared when the economy is on the upturn.
Brian Nevins is senior vice president and managing director with the fundraising consulting and management firm CCS.