Book Review: ‘Fundraising When Money Is Tight’
There’s no denying that the recession is adversely affecting most, if not all, nonprofit organizations — whether they care to admit it or not. Donors are harder to come by, dollars are being spread thinner and fundraisers are feeling the pinch.
In his new book, “Fundraising When Money Is Tight: A Strategic and Practical Guide to Surviving Tough Times and Thriving in the Future,” marketing and fundraising guru Mal Warwick tackles the struggles fundraisers are facing and offers tactics and strategies to support their fundraising efforts now and in the future.
The book is divided into two parts. In Part One, Warwick gives a history course on giving and what can be gleaned from the past; a six-step process to scenario planning to anticipate the future; three scenarios for economic recovery; three possible fundraising strategies; and, finally, an explanation of how a selective approach to fundraising is the optimal approach.
While Part One provides the foundation, Part Two puts the concepts into practice. Warwick begins Part Two by asking the tough question: “How do you decide between cutting fundraising, marketing, and communication expenses and cutting program activities?” The answer? An evaluation of everything, using either “Ansoff’s matrix” or the “Boston matrix.” He goes on to discuss ways to strengthen your case for giving by looking at why your donors give — focusing on vision, mission and values — and emphasizes that postponing asking for money “is quite possibly the biggest fundraising mistake you could possibly make.”
Warwick also rattles some cages by suggesting that fundraisers do less testing and that “despite what you may be hearing from experts, this is not the time for innovation.” Also in Part Two, Warwick lays out a 16-step guide for cutting costs, along with a sidebar offering “Fourteen Ways to Cut Design and Production Costs”; segmentation strategies; tips to stay connected with donors; tips for creating a questionnaire direct-mail campaign to gain valuable insights about donors; ways to step up online efforts without putting all your fundraising eggs into the Internet basket; and a checklist to help break down the silos in fundraising organizations.
Warwick summarizes his findings and tips in the final chapter, providing “Nine Practical Steps Toward Peace of Mind” to help fundraisers meld immediate, short-term gains with long-term, sustainable success. FS
“Fundraising When Money Is Tight” by Mal Warwick; $22.95; Jossey-Bass (josseybass.com)
Joe Boland is copy editor and staff writer for the Target Marketing Group at FS’ parent company, NAPCO. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org