It’s Fall y’all, and I’m so excited that the most generous time of year is swiftly approaching. It’s a time of tremendous activity and festive gatherings…and this year, it all feels extra juicy because, for many of us, we’re just getting back to what the holiday season felt like BC (before COVID-19).
Despite my nerdy excitement for Q4, I’ve been receiving calls from social sector executives who are considering scaling back their regularly scheduled holiday giving plans in light of serious inflation and recession concerns. With each phone call, I patiently listen to the reasons why these brilliant leaders are suddenly feeling conflicted about asking their supporters for financial investment. Reasons like…
Inflation is real.
Gas prices are through the roof (especially in Southern California).
The stock market is tanking.
A major recession is looming.
All of these statements are based on reality and likely accurate. They are valid concerns. And if I may be so bold, these statements should have nothing to do with your fundraising plans. Period.
If you need more convincing, I offer you the following three reasons to ignore the negative news cycles about our economy while you carefully craft your year-end appeals and outreach plans:
1. It’s dangerous to make assumptions about your donors’ finances or generosity.
Your organization’s donors are adults who can make up their own minds about how they choose to spend and invest their hard-earned money. Regardless of how it might feel at the moment, we live in an abundant world and there is a TON of wealth available for philanthropic investment.
2. Capacity building requires fundraising.
If and when the next recession hits, people will lose their jobs, and some people will temporarily lose their ability to take care of basic needs. We already have community members living in poverty and/or on our streets – there will be a dramatic increase in demand for free and low-cost social services. The nonprofit sector needs to prepare now to rise to the occasion and meet the increased demand.
3. The absence of your request may do more harm than good.
Our donors are members of our community, right? Imagine if they don’t hear from you this holiday season because you think you’re being respectful and discerning about the current economic climate. But they’re hearing from the four other organizations they support annually…and they’re left to wonder why your organization is no longer asking for their support. Wondering can easily lead to incorrect assumptions, frustration, and even feelings of alienation.
My intention is to inspire confidence in the plans you established earlier this year, to encourage you to keep moving forward toward your fundraising goals.
Remember, we’re all in this together. If you need support with your year-end messaging or a supportive thought partner to review your strategy with you before Giving Tuesday, I’m here to help.