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Rethinking Fundraising in Tight Times

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The annual fund, donor contributions and the capital campaign go on even during this unsettled economy. The New York Times published an interesting piece yesterday- 'In Uncertain Times, Donors Hold Back.'  Donors, author Jan Rose points out, are as fearful about economic uncertainty as the rest of us.

Richard Kohan, a partner in the private client services group of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston told Rose a "psychology of conserving assets at present" creates a conflict in which preservation can trump a potential donors' desire to give.

However several potential strategies for soliciting donations allow potential donors to retain high comfort levels- multi-year pledges, donating professional services, creating larger donor pool making smaller donations, planned giving and the tax benefits of loss taking contributions.

Donors are currently inclined to answer no when asked. But, with some creativity and perspective, there are ways to bring the solicitation to yes.

A suggestion that I've made in conversation with advancement officers that I know- (a variation on the more- but smaller donation theme)- is that this is a great time to broaden your donor base. Communicate the need; make the case for participation; and ask for smaller amounts. These kinds of strategies build community fiber- inclusion, and participation that make the institution and future giving stronger.

Rosen closes her article with a comment from William G. Droms, professor of finance at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University  "People who need charity need help now, dig deeper to give if possible.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Brian Fisher published on February 27, 2009 1:49 PM.

A Couple of Quick Items to Start the Day was the previous entry in this blog.

Thinking Spring on a Snowy March Morning: A Quick Look at a Southern Boarding School is the next entry in this blog.

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