Thursday, March 12, 2009

Keep Asking for the Gift? No, Ask More Often

Philanthropy and the Economy from CCS Fundraising (downloadable at reports that confidence among professional fundraisers is at its lowest level in a decade. Some company’s stock holdings have lost 90% of their value, and many of the most aggressive philanthropists – AIG, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns – are financially troubled. Though High Net Worth Individuals (those with liquid assests of $1M+) represent only three percent of the population, 60 percent of all U.S. philanthropy comes from these few. Some wealthy folks are upping their giving (George Soros, for example), while many others are reducing support. Apparently, many large gifts to educational institutions are likely to be affected, though Georgetown got a cool $75 million on January 15. Suggested strategies? Develop an immediate short-term action plan; reaffirm your organization’s mission and impact and keep that mission front and center with donors; increase activity—more visits, more briefings, more communication; motivate development staff, administrative leadership, and trustees with reminders that philanthropy thrives in tough times; encourage trustees and volunteers to help open doors and introduce the organization to new potential supporters; consider challenge or matching gifts to stimulate giving; share the latest philanthropic information with your leadership; introduce payment flexibility and deferred giving options; and explore practical ways to diversify fundraising. Good luck.

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