The “winds of negativity” are starting to blow again. Richard and I are already getting asked how the impending inflation situation is going to affect revenue from major donors. Some economists are saying that inflation could reach 6.5% a year for the next three to four years.
Then, there are other non-profit leaders worried about a potential stock market crash because the stock market is doing really well right now. They fear the bubble is going to burst and, therefore, wonder if they should start asking donors for appreciated stock before that happens.
In working with non-profit leadership and fundraising for over 30 years, it’s amazing how leaders allow themselves to get caught up in all the “noise” around them and forget the most important aspect that they can actually control… how they relate to their donors.
I mean, if I told you in December 2019 that in March of 2020 our country would shut down in the midst of a global pandemic, one where we would see unemployment go from 4.3% to 14.7% almost overnight, and that millions of people would die, with over 600,000 just in the United States, you would want to crawl under a rock and sleep through all of 2020.
But what happened? Those non-profits that stayed the course, that continued to communicate with their donors, that remained disciplined, pivoted to new ways of communicating, even from their breakfast table, did extremely well. In fact, most of the non-profits we worked with during the pandemic saw record revenue in 2020.
I mean, it’s pretty clear that when you focus on your donors, your donors will continue to respond generously. (Tweet it!)
And here is the other thing we’ve learned at Veritus through the years of working with thousands of frontline fundraisers. If you continue to cultivate, steward, and serve your donor well, even if they go through a hardship and have to stop giving for a time, when things turn around, they will respond in even greater ways.
Forget about what you can’t control, and control the things you can. What you CAN control is having a structure in your major gifts program, goals for every donor, a plan for every donor, and a management system that keeps your frontline fundraisers focused and accountable to their goals.
All of this takes resolve, discipline, and a sense of calm on the part of a leader or manager, to know that if your frontline fundraisers are working their plan and deepening relationships with their donors, they will be successful – no matter what is happening in the world.