Sunday, November 25, 2012

BIG’s Blog: Re-Set

Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, the authors of The Networked Nonprofit, make the point that philanthropic giving, as a percent of the nation’s wealth, has not budged in 20 years. And they state emphatically, “The same-o, same-o special events, large individual donations and direct mail appeals have failed to increase the pool of donors.”

And then The Chronicle of Philanthropy comes out last week with the news in an article whose title captures the gist of the issue; Half of Nonprofits Face Fundraising Troubles in 2012. Guidestar surveyed 500 groups and the results of the survey showed the second highest decline only exceeded by 2009…the depths of the last recession.

Three years after the depth of the recession and in a growing economy, we are seeing donation numbers showing clear decline.

Donor fatigue? Same group of donors being asked to give more and more? Depression and WWII generational cohorts…the youngest of whom are 67… still representing an outsize percentage of donors?

What’s going on here?

It’s either the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result) or pure, unadulterated obfuscation on the part of nonprofit leadership.

If I hear one more person explain it away as, “Oh, it’s complicated,” I will seriously lose it!

It’s not complicated. If your fundraising organization cannot hit its goals during a time of general growth in the economy, their plan is failing. It doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means that their methods aren’t working anymore.

If your database of donors is 70% or more over 70 years of age…you have deep structural problems with your fundraising plan.

Business-as-usual will not get you turned around. Nor will a more robust economy.

You need to quickly re-think your strategy to fundraising. Obviously something has changed since you learned fundraising awhile ago, and you have been heads-down practicing your profession. Even the best and brightest need a re-set from time to time.

Watch for my Wednesday blog and learn how you can positively change the course of your fundraising results.


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