“You Only Learn Who Is Swimming Naked When The Tide Goes Out.” -Warren Buffet
This quote from Warren Buffet may conjure graphic imagery, but trust me that this post is rated “G”.
Just this week, I’ve had conversations with three different Executive Directors who have found themselves well…“naked” as the tide is going out, and wondering how to realign their fundraising goals and strategies with the state of the economy.
I’m sharing the conversations in hopes that your organization doesn’t make some of the same mistakes. I’ve promised each Executive Director anonymity so names and other incriminating details have been concealed to protect the “naked”. Here are some of the issues:
- Raising 85 % of their funding from two large grants that they wont get next year: the Madoff scandal has put one major foundation out of business, and the other foundation is not accepting RFPs until they can fully evaluate the economy. If your organization receives grant funding, you have to check out the 2009 Foundation Giving forecast, published and consistently updated by the Foundation Center
- Scaling back on fundraising staff, leaving much needed fundraising positions vacant and redistributing the workload.
- Creating employee burn-out from # 2 and loosing a dynamic fundraiser to another organization. This naked offender did not have a succession plan for the dynamic fundraiser, and now suspects that several large donors may have followed dynamic fundraiser out the door.
- Being complacent about getting up and running with a donor database. Donor data is one of a non profit organizations most valuable assets, so if you don’t have a system, check out this comparison of some of the most popular data base tools for nonprofits. Make a commitment tonurtureyour donor data my managing it data properly. These systems can do much more than MS Excel 😉
- Failing to DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY their organizations fundraising efforts and developing strategies to raise money in the 5 major areas of fundraising: Individual and Corporate Giving, Foundations and Grants, Special Events and Earned Income.
I’ve fundraised during the economic downturns of 1998 and early 2002 and know for sure that when you put hard work into planning for sustainability pays off when the economy gets better.