Fundraising in a Bad Economy!

What if you live in a country where the economy is going downhill? Can you still fundraise while your countrymen suffer?

During economic downturns I am tempted to:

  • Freeze in fear and hope things will improve
  • Hide finances from my spouse. “Everything is fine.”
  • Eat chocolate ice cream out of the carton(s) late at night
  • Blame the other political party

Instead, how about taking three action steps?

  1. Thank the Lord! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I struggle to give thanks when people are suffering—especially me! But let us give thanks by faith knowing that our Sovereign Lord uses hard times for His own purposes, including wooing people to Himself.  The recession might not expand your investment portfolio, but it will expand the Kingdom!
  2. Connect personally with your giving partners. Fundraising guru Jerry Panas in America discovered that during a recession, most givers do not stop all giving, but they reduce the number of ministries they support and how frequently. If donors drop you, perhaps you were #8 on their giving list. Now is the time to connect with your giving partners to stay #1 or #2 in their hearts. Listen to them. Pray with them. Cry with them! But don’t ask for support.
  3. Economic downturns do not affect everyone negatively. Fourteen percent unemployment means 86% are still employed. In a recent economic downturn in the US, farming industries improved significantly. Economic downturns hurt some but prosper others. It’s not even.

So, can you make financial appeals during downturns? Yes, but be sensitive. Do not give yourself permission to be frozen in “do-nothing fear.” Try this:

  • Identify your top 25 prospective giving partners. Which ones are positively affected by the ‘bad economy?’ Talk with them face to face. Tell them you need to be fully funded now because a door is open for ministry during this downturn.

If your potential partner has job troubles, perhaps say:  

Based on what you’ve told me it sounds like joining our support team is out of the question—at least for the next few months. I agree! But please keep this commitment card, and when your finances change, please pray about joining us. I’ll stay in touch.

  • Visit those giving partners affected negatively by the economy. Now is the time to be with them, to pray with them, to listen to them. Show them you care. How about giving to them? I’m serious. Help them out. They’ve done it for you!

When they get on their feet again, they will not forget that you came to visit! Even if they don’t re-start support, visiting them is the right thing to do!

Okay! It’s time to act! It is not time to cower in fear or ‘wait it out.’ I like Psalm 112:7 in the Living Bible:

“He does not fear bad news nor live in dread of what might happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him.”