8 Steps to Take During Difficult Times
3. Listen to donors — they know the way. Donors are affected by tough economic times and times of uncertainty, too. During these times, they become more and more discriminating about where they allocate their charitable dollars. And that's when you must listen even more carefully to them. They will tell you what motivates them about your work and what doesn't. Tough times are times for partnership with donors. I am still hearing, way too many times, from MGOs that all the donors on their caseloads are the same. Don't believe it!
4. Flood your circle of influence with vision and courage. Nothing steals your energy and passion like down times. Remind yourself and others around you why you are doing what you do. Take another look at the core purposes of your organization. Proclaim your vision courageously and boldly. This is about taking care of yourself and making sure you are properly grounded and encouraged.
5. Make (or renew) a serious commitment to asking. Revenue is down. The future looks bleak. You don't know how things will turn out. So you start to ask half as much, right? Wrong. Now is the time you should increase your asks and the energy surrounding them! You can't afford to add more weakness to an already weak economy.
6. Step up and innovate. Take risks. It's counterintuitive, but tough times require the polar opposite of your natural inclination to hunker down and defend. Your emotional side will tell you to be careful, avoid risk, be conservative. Instead, be proactive. Test new ideas; push the envelope and find new ways to relate to your donors. One MGO of a client of ours, having failed to gain entrance to her high-net-worth donor, engaged the donor's dog in the conversation! Yes, her dog. The MGO would write and email the dog, and the dog would write back. Hmmm, yeah, we know — it was the donor writing. But a really solid relationship developed, and the outcome was increased relationship and giving. Who would have thought?
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.