Fundraising in a Turbulent Economy

© The Navigators

© The Navigators

In the midst of bailouts, layoffs, credit squeezes and slowdowns what is your fundraising strategy? Before I give you a key word guideline let's remember these facts:

  • 6 and 1/2 percent unemployment means that 93 and 1/2 are still employed.
  • In the past 40 years charitable giving in the US has increased every year no matter what the economy. 
  • Since 1931 and the Great Depression there have been 13 official recessions--one about every six years. Though this one seems like the end of the world, it is not. Economies go through stages.

So what can you do now? Here are six suggestions:

  1. Don't Panic! In the midst of what seems like universal chaos, much of it will not affect your donors. Some donors will experience huge misfortune, but the sky is not falling on everyone. In Matthew 6, Jesus exhorted his followers three times, "Do not worry".
  2. Stay visible! Now is the time to say thank you and give extra ministry reports. Tell stories. Don't disappear from your donors' radar!
  3. Set funding appointments now! Even if potential giving partners want to postpone until "things clear up" go ahead and set appointments so they can be encouraged at what God is doing. When they are able to start giving they will start with you.
  4. Don't be apologetic! Watch out for weasel language such as "perhaps you'd consider praying about joining our team sometime." Or, "I wouldn't want to inconvenience you, but..."
  5. Be sensitive. For those who are affected seriously by the economy lend a listening ear. Thank them even more. I say, "Your gifts mean all the more to us now that we know the difficult situation you are in.
  6. Review your calling. Steve Shadrach of Bodybuilders Ministry says that when we get to heaven, these tumultuous economic times may be part of your "Good times highlight reel." Let's remember to see this from God's perspective. 

Oh, the keyword? Initiate!