ADJUSTING YOUR SAILS INSTEAD OF FIGHTING THE WIND

There’s no time like the present!

You’ve heard it time and time again over the years: picking back up those long-lapsed piano lessons, preparing for a career change, or saving for retirement. There’s no time like the present.

And without a doubt, there’s no time like the present to redouble your fundraising intentionality. No matter whether your career is in the nonprofit sector or you serve on a board of directors, this morsel is for you.

Considering the rocky landscape the stock market is navigating, and with humanity still adjusting to a new normal in so many facets, what does resilience look like in your philanthropy program? We suggest these three primary areas to not only undergird but to grow your contributed revenue into a position of power and strength:

First, remain committed to growing your base of philanthropic support. On the average, organizations that maintained a robust development program during the financial crash in 2008-2009 recovered more quickly than those who stopped activity. Emphasize that your mission is timely and vital and needed now more than ever. It’s likely this is exactly the right time to double down on your fundraising activity. Consider both what you do and how you do it as you focus in 2023 on expanding your contributed revenue stream.

Secondly, show your impact to your key donors and prospects in innovative ways. As we know thanks to Giving USA’s research since 1956, Americans continue supporting nonprofits during boom and bust periods alike. It is up to staff and board members to illustrate time and again how the donor is bringing your mission to those who need it most.

Third, it’s imperative that you have a development plan to chart your course while sailing uncharted waters. This is a time when there’s no reason to leave things up to chance. Create a calendar and stick to it. Be intentional with engaging others in your prospecting activities; focus on converting special event attendees long before it’s time to solicit them for a gift. Lean on segmenting your base of prospective and active donors to tailor the messaging they are reading. And use video so they can see the impact of their gifts.

There will always be highs and lows in the economy. We can’t change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails. Organizations that double-down on their philanthropy program no matter the economy are more likely to see positive growth.

It’s up to you to determine what your future looks like.

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