Three steps to YOUR economic recovery

by guest blogger George Crankovic

The Conference Board just released the official consumer confidence index for March 2010. It’s good news. Consumer confidence is up … slightly. It’s at 52.5, up from 46.4 in February.

So what? Well, the consumer confidence index tracks pretty closely with consumer spending, and that tracks pretty closely with giving. But let’s not get carried away. This doesn’t exactly signal a return to the go-go nineties when the Dow was soaring and most everyone was getting big raises.

No, the economy’s still precarious. And so is fundraising. We’re coming off one of the worst periods ever. Summer 2009 was a point of historic lows for the Philanthropic Giving Index, prepared by the Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University. And yes, even that index is up slightly — but only slightly. This is no time to lean back and put your feet up on the desk.

Here are three things you can do to speed your recovery:


  1. Focus on acquisition. If your charity has been hit hard lately, maybe now doesn’t seem like the right time to invest in acquisition. But, really, if you divert some resources to acquisition, you’ll be at the right place just as the giving curve starts bending up again. Not a bad place to be.
  2. Build donor retention. Fundraising costs are highest up front, so with longer-term donors you’re spreading that cost over a longer period of time. More revenue, lower costs. Think about personally contacting as many donors as you can to make the connection to build loyalty. Think about starting or perking up your pledge program. Think about ways to ask donors how they want to give and listen to them. Donors love that.
  3. Amp up the creative. Be careful here. This doesn’t mean making wild claims or bowling donors over with horrific, gut-churning images. It does mean having a strong, specific offer so donors know exactly what they giving to and why. They need to know that $25 does this, $100 does that. It’s just good direct marketing, but it’s easy to overlook, especially if your boss wants to see the mission statement and “the brand” filling up every appeal.

Things ARE looking up, but we have to be active and make opportunities for the nonprofits we serve. Their survival depends on it.


Comments

2 responses to “Three steps to YOUR economic recovery”

  1. Dear George,
    I would add, continue to thank people. Thank donors on the phone, even for a 5 dollar gift. Thank volunteers. Bake cookies. Bring in pizza. Whatever it takes so that everyone feels appreciated. We all need to band together now, and keep our spirits up, and showing appreciation is one of the best ways to do that.
    And after all, isn’t that what we’re here for?
    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

  2. Dear George,
    I would add, continue to thank people. Thank donors on the phone, even for a 5 dollar gift. Thank volunteers. Bake cookies. Bring in pizza. Whatever it takes so that everyone feels appreciated. We all need to band together now, and keep our spirits up, and showing appreciation is one of the best ways to do that.
    And after all, isn’t that what we’re here for?
    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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