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Tips for Fundraising in a Recession

Tips for Fundraising in a Recession

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Published by Marc A. Pitman
Recessions will cause us all to tighten our belts. But it's even more important that we continue our fundraising efforst!
Recessions will cause us all to tighten our belts. But it's even more important that we continue our fundraising efforst!

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Published by: Marc A. Pitman on Dec 04, 2008
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08/23/2010

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Tips for Fundraising in a Recession
1.
Keep Asking!
Treat your donor like an adult and let her make the decision aboutwhether this is a good time to give or not. Don’t try to make up her mind for her.2.
Get the Facts:
Studies have shown that Americans are
very
generous, even ineconomic downturns. In fact, giving has increased practically every year since WorldWar II. People will be giving this year, why shouldn’t they have the opportunity togive to your organization?3.
Keep Your Friends Close:
Keeping existing donors is always more cost effectivethan finding new donors. Now is an especially great time to reach out to peoplewho’ve given to you in the past but maybe not in the last year or two.4.
Stay Upbeat:
Fundraisers tend to be some of the most upbeat people around.They’ve found that people don’t give to pessimism. So work hard to be realistic butto also find the silver lining in any given situation.5.
Admit to Donors that Times are Tough:
Being upbeat doesn’t meanmindlessly attempting to “positive think” your way around difficulties. Being honestabout difficulties—both those of the organization and those of the donor—canactually strengthen relationships.6.
Be Flexible:
Donors are facing varying degrees of economic uncertainty. Somemay nee to extend their pledge commitments. Help them by being flexible.7.
Don’t Beat Up Your Regular Donors:
Resist the urge to beat up your donorswith multiple panic-stricken year-end letters and emails. Focus on the impact your nonprofit is making in the community and ask them to invest continue being part of those great works. But don’t abuse them.8.
Think Strategically:
Economic downturns cause all of us to tighten our belts a bit.But before you do across the board cuts, look at what you’ve been investing in anddetermine if the cost is worth the results. At Inland, we made the startling discoverythat cutting costs by reducing mailings actually resulted in a fundraising drop of 30%! This year they increased their mailings and raised as much in six months asthey had in the entire previous year, despite the economic uncertainty. Spendingextra money may yield tens of thousands of dollars more in donations.9.
Keep Investing in Professional Development:
Our organizations need us tokeep being sharp and staying up with what is working in our career. Unfortunately, professional development is often one of the first things to be cut from a budget.There are lots of great fundraising seminars, podcasts, webinars, and blogs. Many of them are free and allow you to learn right at your desk.10.
Be Sure to Check Out Social Media:
You need to have conversations whereyour donors are. Many of them may be onFacebook ,Twitter , or LinkedIn. You

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