How the Recession Improved Our Lives
Sometimes there's nothing like a painful recession to make us better than we were. The other night, I was cutting my husband's hair. There isn't much too it (the haircutting job or his hair); I just grab the $12 clippers and five minutes later, he's neat and trim and happy. As I buzzed along thought my work, I was reminded that a few years ago, he was paying someone else to do this job. When things got tough around the country and we wanted to improve our family's recession-fighting skills, we decided to buy the clippers (less than the cost of one haircut plus a tip) and turn our patio into our own personal salon. Since then, I've learned that as long as I don't say, "oops," it works for us, and we don't plan to give it up now that the economy is turning around, albeit slower than an iceberg shifting course.
So, why this personal musing? Well, there are probably some things your nonprofit did during the recession that were reactions to less donor income, a need to cut costs, pressure to "work smarter," or whatever was the prevailing mood at your organization. Once things are back on course, it's tempting to breathe a sigh of relief and go back to the old ways.
But should you?
Like my foray into becoming a one-man-only personal hair stylist, there are some things that you maybe shouldn't change . . . at least not without a lot of thought. For example. . . .
Being grateful for who you have
Did you find yourself thanking your donors more for their support during lean times? Were you quicker about getting out receipts, more apt to pick up the telephone and call to express gratitude, and creative about finding ways to show your appreciation?
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.