Late last year, FS asked folks from all across the fundraising spectrum a series of questions focused on fundraising in 2009 and what lies ahead for the sector in 2010.
Lynn Edmonds, president, L.W. Robbins Associates
Loyal donors are being conservative but holding on. Since the spring, we have seen a slight increase in giving in some audiences but not all. And in certain cases, we have been able to reactivate lapsed donors by decreasing the gift asks.
Year-end giving will be very telling, but the economy is certainly not rebounding for individuals yet and can be very local. California, for instance, is reaching into paychecks and "borrowing" money from its working citizens. This is a drastic move. Will this impact the giving among individuals who can no longer count on their monthly take-home pay? Nationwide, people continue to make choices between supporting nonprofit causes and paying their bills.
Some organizations will continue to prosper while many will struggle to meet last year's results. The groups most likely to prosper are those that provide basic services like food and shelter; have kept their cause top-of-mind with donors and the public with smart, consistent marketing efforts; and have maintained or expanded their acquisition and lapsed reactivation programs.
Donor acquisition was the biggest challenge fundraisers faced in 2009. The decrease in response within commercial lists impacted new donor numbers and average gifts across the board, and put more pressure on donor lists. For some clients, we recommended less package testing to attain the highest net revenue and mailing quantities. Maintaining acquisition volumes with the best lists and packages have kept most organizations moving forward.
Between the budget softness and the newness of social media this year, we've seen a lift in terms of the usage of both online messages and social media with a potential lift in brand and awareness.