Fundraising and the Government Shutdown
- Do not panic! Translation: Do not start adjusting your budget. Do not start adjusting your projections. Do not start alerting executives to problems that "may" come. You all know that I'm big on transparency — heck, I'm the one who suggested we all sit down with our finance teams and share everything we know. So I'm not suggesting that we keep our concerns quiet. I'm suggesting that we not allow ourselves to be overly concerned.
- Don't turn a blind eye! While I don't think anyone should panic or start preparing for a dire situation, I also don't think we need to be ignorant either. Pay close attention to those programs that allow you to see results quickly. Watch open rates, online giving levels, phone responses, pledge amounts, donation amounts. Watch them all, and discuss it within your team and with your agencies. There were some response changes reported during the actual shutdown, and that could almost be deemed reasonable. Make sure you are monitoring how donors are behaving now and over the next 60 days.
- Balance change! If you see a concern in your results (see bullet 2) don't make knee-jerk reactions. Yes, you should always be watching results and making tweaks to campaigns that can often show rapid results/response. But make sure you don't overreact and disrupt your strategy for the holiday season. First, talk to your vendors/agencies about the results, and ask them to check other client results with similar campaigns. Don't have an agency? No problem — call your industry friends. Go on the blogs and ask what others are seeing. There is one thing we know: When times are questionable or people in the industry are concerned, the sharing and "all for one, one for all" mentality are fantastic. Take advantage of all your resources to ask what people are seeing in their results.
Trust me, the retail industry is going to be monitoring this very closely. Make sure you stay aware of what commercial marketers are saying about buying behavior. But be very careful not to translate this to a problem for your fundraising campaigns over the next 90 days. Stay informed, be smart and watch your numbers closely before you make changes and raise any red flags.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.