I do not have any answers. I cannot even hazard a guess. Is giving up? Is giving down? What do donors think? What will become of our funders?
I think the best response to all of this is to do nothing. I mean nothing. Don’t proactively build a deeper relationship with donors. Don’t seek another gift from long time supporters who see the real value you bring to the community.
Don’t schedule a visit with a long time funder and talk about the future of their funding. Don’t encourage board members to reach deep into their circle of influence and inquire about another gift. Don’t come to work with a spring in your step knowing that the programs you provide are still changing lives.
What would be the point? The stock market continues to decline. Our long time donors no longer care about our work. Board members are eternal pessimists anyway. Heck, stop having board meetings altogether.
Don’t consume information from sources like APF, AHP, The Center on Philanthropy, or CASE afterall these might be chaulked with information that could be helpful!
JUST STOP. Did you stop? Are you sitting down, relaxing?
Now think…is stopping the real answer?
I have written about how to insulate your organization against a tough economy. Taking that extra step and adding some stewardship practices (that we all should have been conduting anyway) will send a strong message about how important our donors are to us.
But where might other gifts come from?
For years now I have watched as many organizations overlook their core volunteers when it comes to asking for a contribution. I have heard it all from “not wanting to offend them” to my all time favorite, “they will then stop volunteering”.
Think about it. I learned a long time ago from some fundraisers who are a lot smarter than me that involvement invites investment. It makes perfect sense. This does not mean that volunteers will give enough to fund a program or organization. Nor does it mean that all planned gifts come from volunteers.
What it does mean is that we ought to consider for a minute that those who give of their time are more likely to also invest in our work financially. Even small gifts will make a difference today, won’t they?
Today, create an “everyone’s time is valuable” attitude. Consider a campaign focused on volunteers making participatory gifts to your annual fundraising effort.
Of all the lessons learned on Wall Street it is still hard to overlook the time value of money!