Has the US presidential election hurt your fundraising?

Every four years, I hear a wave of anxiety from fundraisers about the US presidential election: It’s going to kill our results!

And every four years, I repeat the same advice: It’s not as bad as you think it is. For most of us, the election has little or no impact on fundraising! (See my post from earlier this year: Will the US presidential election devour your fundraising?)

But I got to wondering if this one might be different. Maybe more harmful to more fundraising efforts. So a few days before the election, I fielded a Twitter poll. The question was, Have you seen depressed response to your fundraising during the election season? The results:

  • No! Everything is fine: 20%
  • Too early to tell: 27%
  • Yes, results are down: 53%

Okay, my poll is extremely unscientific. Not a trustworthy source of meaningful truth. But it foots with what I and others have heard anecdotally: More fundraisers than usual think the election has done harm to fundraising.

We won’t know the real answer until a couple of months from now when all the direct mail results are in and counted.

But for now, suspend your judgement about the impact of the election an pay attention to the facts in front of you:

  • If your results are down, you still have time to make corrections in the form of additional fundraising between now and the end of the year.
  • If, once you’ve looked at results, you see a clear drop in response in the week (months?) leading up to November 8 — a key learning is that what you did may not be at fault. It may not be broken, so you probably shouldn’t fix it!
  • Be careful about blaming all your woes on the election. For many, that’s an excuse that keeps fundraisers from tackling their real problems.


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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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