Turning Giving USA Into 'Giving to My Organization'
People still want to support philanthropy, but they often won't increase their giving in direct correlation to market increases. They take more of a "wait and see" approach, making sure their own personal wealth (be that small or large) is stable, despite what the Dow Jones Industrial Average says. Continue to maintain relationships with donors and build new relationships with prospects, and give them time to regain confidence as the economy improves.
Principle No. 3: Engage
Giving USA included an interesting chart in its webinar presentation showing rates of volunteerism. As nonprofits have found, philanthropy has a direct relationship to volunteering. People who volunteer frequently become donors and are often the best donors, both now and for planned gifts. This is true across all ages, but especially for younger donor segments. Now is the time to engage Generations X and Y.
Furthermore, some of the most talented, skilled people in society retire every day — the baby boomers. They have their health, some wealth and a lot of energy. For the most part, they aren't looking forward to baking cookies and building birdhouses. They have been superstars all their lives, and they expect to still be superstars in retirement. What are you doing to meaningfully engage them and get them involved as volunteers in ways that meet their interests and skillsets?
Just thinking out loud here … If you're a national organization or one that has donors scattered across the country, why not start an ambassador program and train baby boomer retirees who enjoy travelling to meet with and present your work to far-flung donors whom you may not be able to visit yourself? You can't fully abdicate your responsibility for making the ask, but these ambassadors can play an important role for your nonprofit. Do you have other ideas for engaging baby boomers? Use the comment section below to share them with other readers.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.