A Dicey Economy and the Holiday Push

By Joanne Fritz, About.com Guide

There are a couple of things fundraisers need to be thinking about right now. The economy is still faltering with some predicting a double dip recession or just a continuation of the old one. Plus, the end-of-year fundraising season is coming up, which, for many organizations, is more of a do or die season than a holiday one.

To help plan for both of these, I thought that Lisa Sargent’s recent survey of fundraisers about What’s Working in Donor Fundraising and Development was extremely useful.

Lisa, of Lisa Sargent Communications, is an experienced fundraiser, inspired writer, and deep thinker about all things philanthropic. She wanted to find out what nonprofit executives are facing at this moment in fundraising development. So she asked. She summed up her findings with the following points:

1. Acquisition is tough. Consumer sentiment is low and some nonprofits have even stopped trying to acquire new donors. Bad move, says Lisa. That could have a ripple effect for years.

2. Social media results are mixed. Social media works well for some but not for others. Besides that, the donors acquired through social media are often “fragile followers.” They don’t always stick around and sometimes just give once and move on.

3. Donors are changing. They seem to be less loyal, expect concrete results, see themselves as investors, and want to be communicated to their way.

4. Online does matter, especially email. Participating executives said online is their fastest growing channel and that e-mail newsletters and appeals do work.

5. Integrated, multi-channel marketing is the way to go for the future. The biggest problem cited in pursuing an integrated communications and fundraising strategy is the coordination needed with techniques and people. Silos still exist within organizations.

What does Lisa suggest?
1. Good post-acquisition donor communications.
2. More story-based and relationship fundraising techniques as part of the donor communications mix.
3. Eliminating the silos to establish control and consistency.

Be sure to read the complete findings and suggestions at Lisa’s blog. You’ll be glad you did. These ideas will give you specifics to focus on as you work with the still stalling economy and face that year-end fundraising push.

More help is furnished by a wonderful, downloadable and free, ebook from Network for Good. It is How to Raise A Lot More Money Now – 50 Great Ideas from 11 Top Experts — a great collection of ideas that will expand your repertory of fundraising techniques. Most of these folks are ones that I follow regularly, and there are a couple more that I was happy to learn about.

The best way to stay fresh and up-to-date is to read, listen and learn. You can’t go wrong with either of these resources…Lisa’s helpful survey and Network for Good’s ebook.