Carl Bloom Associates Finds Public Libraries' Fundraising Results Still Good Despite Bad Economy
White Plains, New York, Feb. 11, 2009 — Fundraising results from Carl Bloom Associates’ Direct Marketing Library Consortia ; a cooperative group of big and small public libraries across the country ; were very strong in the last few months of 2008. Acquisition direct mail response rates were more than double those for the year before for one co-op member and up about 80% year-to-year on average for all participating libraries.
Carl Bloom, President and Founder of CBA, says successful libraries and other non-profits “stress the value of the organization and its good work for their communities ; as providing the most ‘bang for the buck’ when giving choices have to be made.”
Mr. Bloom cites recent media coverage of big increases in library usage for everything from free internet access and job listings to a higher demand for inexpensive entertainment such as video and book rentals, while at the same time they experience a freefall in government funding.
“Our nation’s public libraries are among the most important institutions in their communities. In an era when the internet and big box bookstores were supposed to make them obsolete, they’re more important than ever. It’s important to communicate that message to donors.”
Peter B. Wayne, Associate Director of the Queens (NY) Library Foundation, agrees saying, “I think the message of budget cuts and economic hard times coupled with the Library's value resonates with donors.”
Annette Thornburgh of The Library Foundation in Topeka, KS is “pleased with the results, especially in this tough economic climate,” while Maggie Morgan, Development Associate at the Pierce County Library Foundation in Tacoma, WA, is “very happy with the dollar amount coming in, especially during a shaky economy. “ Looking to the future, she’s hopeful that “we'll continue to see donors come in.”
Mr. Bloom cautions organizations and their development staffs not to panic in these tough times. “Don’t stop fundraising, sending direct mail and acquiring new donors ; but fundraise smarter, more efficiently.” He goes on, “Direct mail is still the best way to target the largest number of likely prospects. But not all direct mail has to be expensive. Test less expensive formats and make sure you’re mailing to the right lists and targeted geographic areas.”
He also encourages public libraries and other non-profits to be flexible. “Don’t force your donors into a mold or require them to give a certain way. Encourage gifts at any level; tell your donors to ‘give whatever you can,” Mr. Bloom advises, noting that in many cases he’s seen the number of gifts go up while average gifts go down. “Give your donors freedom of action. Try to integrate your direct mail efforts with online, emarketing and telemarketing where feasible and affordable.”
“Americans are the most generous people on the planet. They still want to support the organizations important to them.”
For 32 years, Carl Bloom Associates has served a variety of nonprofits with strategic planning, creative development and full production services specializing in membership development and integrated fundraising. CBA offers web development and email marketing as well as incentive and recognition programs to build relationships with donors as part of our integrated approach to marketing and fundraising.