Unless you have been on another planet since about June of 2008 the newest comfort word is “change”. Imagine that. “Change” now brings comfort when we say it.
For as long as I can remember the slightest notion of change would bring fear and hesitation, not comfort. But here we are…everyone is worried what tomorrow will bring. Will a loved one lose a job? Will we be able to pay our bills this month? Will our organization be successful at meeting our fundraising goals? Will we have to cut services?
I suppose then, ”change” is our new comfort word.
I would like to throw another word into the mix of comfort words…perspective.
Stop and take a look at things. Admittedly we live in a fast paced world that begs we not dwell too much on recent history. For example, I asked a room of 50 fundraisers and board members “what did the financial marketplace look like in 2000?” Not one person remembered. In fact, two people answered “isn’t that when 9/11 occurred!
Scary stuff considering the stock market fell 49% between 1999 and 2000. In 2008 we are not yet at a 40% decline…interesting “perspective”. In case you wondered 9/11 happened in 2001.
Want more…total philanthropy was $306 billion in 2007. The most current federal bailout was $350 billion. Imagine, while news outlets are reporting on the bailout they could be comparing it to the generosity of Americans to help put it in “perspective”.
Did you know that the backbone of fundraising (cultivation, solicitation, stewardship) have been taught to practitioners and volunteers by The Fund Raising School since 1974? Since 1974 there have been some pretty tough economic times…remember inflation and gas crisis of the late 1970s? Heck interest rates on a mortgage were 11% or higher! Hmmm, nice perspective.
When you examine what impact the current economy can have on the nonprofit sector you clearly see one thing…if a nonprofit has historically done fundraising poorly it will suffer more. Understanding how to raise money, devoting the necessary human resources (staff, board, volunteers), appropriately cultivating and stewarding donors, and keeping perspective can prevent panic.
Now might be the best time for some perspective…and hey, some change might not be bad either.