The other challenge was tackling social media and new communications pipelines for fundraising. In 2008, many fundraisers felt they could treat these tools as secondary or ignore them entirely. As we closed 2009, attitudes have shifted, and fundraisers are scrambling to make sense of these tools and their value, which is still not totally clear.
As we move into 2010, nonprofits seem to be optimistic that there's a turnaround happening that will positively impact donations. While many are wary of the potential for decreased giving in year-end 2009, most of the folks I speak with feel 2010 giving will be on the upswing, and that we've seen the worst of it. At the very least, there's a sense of living in a new reality that's permeated the community now, as opposed to the sense of shock and fear that struck in 2008.
Scott Swedenburg, president, Mail Enterprises
Almost all of our clients have had a good year. Their total number of gifts is up from previous years, but the average gift amounts are down. This tells me that donors still care deeply about the nonprofits they support, but are not able to send as much as they have in the past. I believe this trend will continue until the economy comes back.
Farra Trompeter, vice president, client relations and strategy, Big Duck
As we get into 2010, I think integration is still the name of the game. All the new channels and tools that nonprofits have for communicating their great work — and asking for money — are exciting. But, it is important that nonprofits remember not to abandon old tricks in favor of new ones. Raising money via Twitter or texting might work for some, but sending out a series of messages via e-mail/direct mail with a consistent and compelling theme still brings in the bucks. Connect those messages to your Web site, your donation landing pages, your Facebook status updates, etc. The point is: Don't think in a vacuum. Donors are looking to hear about you in many places — some may just want to communicate in one channel; others will connect with you in several. The messaging and visual story of all these channels should reflect one another, while also taking into account the unique aspects of that channel and how people use it.