More than 9 Ways to Survive a Recession

  1. Resist the temptation to cut back on fundraising; you’ll never raise more money for your organization by failing to invest in it. It will be even more important to reach out to existing donors and to look for new individuals (one of the few growth areas in fundraising). Fundraising is about long-term relationships.
  2. Don’t apologize for asking for money in tough times and avoid hysterics, but do use the current situation in your appeals. If you’re experiencing an increased demand for services as a result of the economy, tell you donors; if you’re sending a lower cost mailing than usual, explain why.
  3. Don’t assume no one is giving. While corporations may cut back in donations (and they are only a tiny fraction anyway), philanthropists may even give more as they flee losses in the stock market.
  4. Can you use the increase in demand for services to strengthen your pitch, for example, to government sources that have to address the issues you serve?
  5. Get the Board to ramp up its fundraising efforts. If it has never been involved before, there are no more excuses. Not only should you have diverse funding steams, but fundraising can’t just be one person’s responsibility.
  6. If you have strayed from your core competencies, return to them. If you aren’t sure what they are, this is the time to identify them.
  7. Attend to your staff. Let them know they are valued and appreciated, even if you don’t have money for raises. A good, low-cost investment in staff and one that is greatly appreciated: Professional development opportunities.
  8. If possible, postpone non-essential large capital expenditures that will tie up funds. Advice from the Nonprofit Finance Fund: avoid large investments in fixed assets and infrastructure.
  9. Is this the time for a merger or other restructuring, while you are in a position of strength, not weakness?
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