What can you do to increase your odds of nonprofit success during an economic downturn?
Keep your eye on science, history, and data:
A. Hewlett Packard was among the many successful business launched during the Great Depression.
B. Thomas Edison started GE during the Great Panic of 1893, when overall American business activity dropped 40% for 16 months.
C. True, during the Great Depression between 1928 and 1934, charitable giving dropped 35% overall before turning around in 1935.
D. A great idea, organization, or candidate can win out even over long odds. When a total of 48 candidates entered the race for Philadelphia Judge for the Court of Common Pleas, my client Tiffany Palmer, was one of 6 who emerged as winners.
The science-based recommendations include:
1. Determine which elements of your fundraising program have the highest return - and shift the budget in that direction.
2. Invest in and improve upon your planned giving structure.
3. Constantly communicate your organization's story, value, and impact.
4. Focus more energy on your top contributors, since in the current environment many smaller donors are unable to give (but do not ignore these smaller donors! Just understand that circumstances are challenging for many of them now.)
5. Explore and strategically invest in new technology.