Q. What do I need to consider when fundraising during a recession?

Downward trend in fundraisingA. Recently, my husband and I decided to sell our condominium. While it is tempting to use this forum for a sales pitch (MLS#: 70749691), the truth is that our place is ideal for first time buyers. The general consensus on first-time buyers in the current economic climate is that sellers need patience. It may be questionable as to whether our country is heading for a recession or not, but it is undeniable that people are taking more time to consider where to put their money. And this is as true of the housing market as it is for fundraising.

There are now, and will always be, funds set aside for donations; donors are just taking their time and giving careful thought as to which organizations they should give their hard-earned money. For some, the recent downturn will prohibit them from making new commitments, but the majority of donors will continue to give each year. However, they may decide to target their donations to fewer causes or reduce their level of donations. The question is, “How do you intend to stay on their short list?”

Often, the key is to instill confidence in your organization. Does your staff need additional training to broaden skill sets and learn new donor retention strategies? Have you done a recent analysis of the market that you are serving and whether you need to shift focus or maintain your current path? Are your goals attainable considering the current climate? Do you need to reduce the percentage of money that is used for administration instead of client services?

A strategic plan, feasibility study and/or development audit could be beneficial. I know that sounds like a sales pitch for Mersky, Jaffe & Associates services. But, it should come as no surprise that we are often busier in uncertain economic climates. Consultants are an additional way to establish certainty with donors.

However you go about establishing additional faith in your organization, don’t forget the real estate strategy – have patience. Securing the gift may take more time than you would like – but if you are in the right position with the right offering, the money will come.