Funds for All & All for Funds

Welcome to my blog! I'd like you to consider this an interactive space for sharing information, successes, ideas, strategies, and links to help us all raise more funds for nonprofits.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Direct mail and the new economy

Fundraising mailers are finding acquisition of new donors a tough go in the new economic climate. But if an organization doesn't continually replace lapsed donors with new ones, its constituency shrinks and the donations ultimately dry up.

What to do?

One approach might be to take a lesson from the wild success of the Obama campaign's direct mail strategy. This article covers three basic points that have to do with the synergy of traditional postal mail and online approaches. The campaign shattered fundraising records with small donations raised through a combination of technologies.

Focusing on new donors who are willing to make small donations is a winning strategy in a down economy. Once on board, new donors will receive (if you are wise in your mailing program) more information about your organization that will increase their sense of loyalty and encourage them to increase their donations as the economy eases up. Getting a first-time donor at a net loss is a rule of thumb these days. Don't be afraid to spend the money. A new donor is a prospective planned gift donor, a lifetime donor, and possibly a major donor. Even a donation of $5 should be treated with respect in these times.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grants and the new economy

With a prolonged recession and the plunge of the stock market came a diminishment of private foundation endowments, as we all know in the fundraising field. Now that the market is ticking upward again, looking like the only healthy sector of the economy (leaving aside big pharma), grantmaking is beginning to show signs of life once more. Grantmakers, however, have had a long period of soul-searching. This means that nonprofits seeking grants from non-government sources would do well to redo their basic prospecting. Yes, a whole new search! It's a great time to discover new sources of grant funding by redoing the search through the Foundation Center, local and regional news, Google searches, and networking through your board members.

For everything old is new again. Forget that stuff about there being nothing new under the sun. Under the grants sun, everyone in the position of disbursing grant funds has new ideas.

I'd love to hear about your experience in seeking grants from private and corporate foundations this last 12 months. My experience is that foundations that were tried and true sources for my clients reduced or refused grants many were counting on and new sources popped up. Does this ring any bells?