Saturday, December 1, 2012

Half of Nonprofits Say They Are Hurting

Half of the 500 nonprofits recently surveyed by Guidestar state that fundraising results have been very bleak this year. The percentage of charities reporting a decline was the second highest since the survey was started 11 years ago. Not only were the charities receiving fewer gifts, but even contributions received were smaller than before. Many institutions predict that the traditionally strong year-end gift giving period will not close the gap. Worse yet, this seems to be happening at the same time that many nonprofits state that their communities are requiring more of their charitable services.

Now, the recession has been dragging on for a number of years. Why has 2012 been so tough for charities? One fundraising professional speculates that many nonprofits have done a poor job of stewarding their donors and its "coming home to roost".

For me, stewardship is receiving a high priority. I have enlisted my Board to call all our donors and thank them for their past support. I have also engaged staff and volunteers to call unrenewed supporters. We are finding as many ways as possible to be donor-centric and share impact and outcomes of our donors' philanthropic support.

Take the time. Reach out. Touch your donors in an authentic, meaningful way. And make sure it is not just once a year but throughout the year. It may take a while to see results but it's worth it. The "new reality" is that it is going to take a lot of effort to retain and engage your supporters. But frankly, it's probably something we should have been doing all along - isn't it?

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