I once took on an interim development director position with a small nonprofit organization, which had had five development directors in the preceding two years. We all know that development is all about developing consistent systems and relationships. How do you build any kind of continuity with that kind of record?
Thomas W. Hurley, principal and president, Non-Profit Group, DMW Worldwide
In fall 2009, I surveyed clients via e-mail and asked them to compare what their anticipated 2010 performance will stack up against actual 2009 figures. Most of the respondents fell into the "somewhat optimistic" group.
For those nonprofits whose fiscal year starts on July 1, much of the planning and execution of programs occurred before the economy turned down in early fall. Results were mixed over the winter and spring, with acquisition down and donor appeals generally staying flat.
Since then, I see much more of an emphasis on cutting fundraising expenses over increasing net revenue. The mood is extremely cautious; perhaps as revenue declines, fundraisers are being asked to cut their budgets more than the programming side of the nonprofits with whom we work.
Frankly, those clients who had an annual plan and stuck to the strategy fared much better than those who reacted out of fear of the future and the headlines of the day.
Heather Mansfield, owner, DIOSA|Communications
Mobile technology is the next frontier in nonprofit communications. Those that have built communities on social-networking sites over the last few years will reap the most benefits initially because social media is leading the way on the mobile Web.
The good news is that as more mobile technology vendors (group texting, text-to-give, mobile Web site design, iPhone app developers, etc.) flood the market, decreasing costs, these new technologies will be attainable by most nonprofits. Most important, now is the time for early adoption and leadership. If you came late to social media, don't make the same mistake with mobile technology.