If it seems like everyone is talking about it, you’re right.
Most nonprofit organizations have already seen it in their annual reports and results for the last several months.
And every few months a new report comes out from a national organization that confirms it: giving is down.
It’s a trend that can be alarming, to put it mildly.
But what does it mean?
…And what should you do?
Well, first let’s take a look at what the trend is and what’s going on. As different reports show, overall giving has been trending downward over the last year. We’ve seen national reports such as Giving USA, Fundraising Effectiveness Project, and lots of others.
During the pandemic, most nonprofit organizations saw giving hit new records.
People were generous during the pandemic. They wanted to help. Many had stimulus money coming in. They wanted to be united together to make a difference.
But then the pandemic ended. And was replaced by something new: economic fear.
Just like the COVID-19 pandemic, economic fears are hitting everyone—no matter where they live or what their job is.
People (maybe even you) are worried about another recession. We’re worried that inflation will make groceries even harder to afford. And pretty much everything costs more than it did before.
With all that going on, it makes sense that people are giving less.
This downward trend is exacerbated because of the high boom during the pandemic. While some organizations are seeing giving fall back to pre-pandemic levels, others are seeing giving drop to lower than 2019.
But even if the reason behind the decline makes sense, it won’t stop your board members from demanding answers or expecting better results.
So what do you do?
First of all, don’t panic.
This isn’t the first time giving has decreased, and it won’t be the last. You need to make smart decisions, yes. But making rash, knee-jerk decisions almost never helps.
The most important thing you should do: Stay calm, and keep fundraising.
You can’t just sit back and not do anything. There are a few things you should definitely be doing to make sure your nonprofit or ministry can survive this time.
Don’t forget fundraising best practices.
There are a lot of them, so no way can we list them all here. But here are a couple of places to start.
Don’t just do the same thing over and over. Doing the same appeal or newsletter over and over won’t bring you new donors or increase gifts. Even appeals that have performed really well in the past will begin to have lower returns. Try different things. Again, don’t be rash and change for change’s sake. But, the world has changed, so it’s worth examining your fundraising to see where it should change too.
This a good time to examine your strategy. Does your newsletter need a new layout? Do you need to increase or decrease how often you send the newsletter? Dive into your data and see what you can learn.
The one thing you need to remember during this time:
It’s all about relationships.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say keep saying it.
Relationships are key to building and maintaining a thriving donor base and ministry.
Reach out to your current donors.
Don’t just ask them for money, build relationships with them. Take the time to talk with them. Send letters to lapsed donors. Talk to your volunteers who come out and make sure they know how much they’re appreciated.
A period of decreased giving doesn’t have to mean that it’s a time when your nonprofit will struggle. It can still be a time to grow and thrive. So when donors are comfortable to start giving again, your ministry will be one they go to.
If you aren’t sure what your organization can do right now, give us a shout. We’re happy to talk.