Friday, April 24, 2009

YNPN 09: Fundraising in a Tough Economy

Blogging live from the YNPN Leaders Conference. Be sure to follow my tweets too (edaconsulting or ynpnsandiego). Here are some notes and highlights from the session on fundraising in a tough economy. Enjoy!

Fundraising During Economic Uncertainty: Trends and Useful Tools in Philanthropy
Luke Driscoll from CCS Fundraising

Objectives of the discussion
  • Fundraising challenges
  • Planning
  • Customized tools
Where are we now?
  • Give advice internally and listen to people's needs and interests
  • Go back and look at what history told us in the past and what has worked to apply to the future.
  • Look in the box to see what you are doing well and where do you need to “tweak.”
Basic Fundraising Stats:
  • 74.8% comes from individuals
  • 5.1% from corporations
  • 12.6% foundations
  • 7.6% bequests
Where do the funds go?
  • 33.4% religious orgs
  • 14.1% education
  • 9.7% human services
  • 9.1% foundations
  • 7.7% unallocated
  • 13.22% international affairs
  • 7.4% public-society benefit
  • 7.6% health
  • Remainder in arts, animals, etc.
Growth of US Philanthropy
  • Philanthropy has never gone down (flat or gone up); this year may be an anomaly.
  • Philanthropy is a function of GNP not the stock market
  • Use philanthropy facts in discussion to help support your recommendations. Use organizations like Giving USA and AFP as resources.
  • Need to do a little amateur psychology to examine why someone would give. The more often we can check some of those “boxes” the better our chances of success
Why people don’t give or stopped giving:
  • No longer felt connected; fundraisers need to continue to connect the donation to the impact; this is very important for donor engagement
  • Only 15% stopped giving because of a lack of finances
Traits of a successful fundraiser:
  • Passion and belief
  • Volunteer leaders
  • Sense or urgency
  • Willing to take risks
  • Strategic thinker
  • See opportunities, when others see problems.
  • Align donor interests with organization’s needs
  1. Reaffirm the mission and impact – how does your mission make a difference and why does philanthropy play a key role
  2. Activity - cultivation and engagement (conversations, visits, event, communications, one-on-one briefings and meetings); ask donors for feedback and engagement
  3. Motivate internal leaders: In difficult times, people are still making money; share activity for increasing funding; review fundraising efforts; teach how we can be more effective
  4. Support each other – weekly moves management; seek creative ways to engage and energize staff – how much do you want to raise this week and what does your prospect list look like? Be realistic and set yourself up for success. Challenge each other in order to develop and accomplish goals.
  5. Build the pipeline for long term cultivation – want the donor to understand who the organization is and what they do. Get board members engaged.
  6. Expand your prospect base so your prospects turn into donors
  7. Encourage challenge gifts as a strategy to promote activity; What can you tell people that you are doing well?
  8. Share philanthropic information – similar orgs may have the same donors
  9. Introduce gift options – payment periods; planned and deferred giving opportunities – be flexible
  10. Explore diversification – look at competitors in the category – have balance and areas of growth
Final thoughts:
  • Moves management - Know the number of gifts needed, number of prospects needed, gift range, names, dates
  • Sharing good news and participation; remind people about the impact
  • Cultivation events – bring people closer to the organization
  • Different ways to get gifts – cash to stock to property to planned gifts
  • If there is an elephant in the room (economy) than address it, but don’t highlight it if unnecessary
  • Don’t decide the economic climate for the donor, ask question to understand the person and the audience that you are working with.

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