The recent apocalypse fad and foolishness in Congress prompts some fundraisers to ask, Are We Approaching the Fundraising Cliff?, also asked at npEngage.
The short answer is no...
- Did people give more to the presidential campaigns and less to nonprofits? No.
- Are people giving less because of possible changes to charitable tax deductions? No.
- Are people going to give less because they donated to Hurricane Sandy relief? No.
- Are people giving less because of the economy? Maybe.
It's more like a slope than a cliff. And a lot of the things being cited as causes of our fundraising pain are really just excuses.
The other things that are putting downward pressure on some fundraisers:
- Increased competition. There are new nonprofits every day. Some of them are smart fundraisers, filling your donors' mailboxes, inboxes, and minds with savvy messages.
- Donors consolidating. It appears that more donors are giving larger amounts to fewer organizations. That means they're disregarding more messages than they used to.
- Cross-channel behavior. More and more donors are responding online to offline communications. Sadly, most nonprofits are not responding to this. They have websites that are technically inferior, poorly designed, or playgrounds of self-glorification. Until you align your offline and online channels, you are going to leak donors and their donations. (This is a big deal, but it is completely in our control to fix.)
Be aware of the slope. But don't blame all your problems on outside forces.