Canadian charities often face financial pressure, however professional fundraisers tend to shoulder much of the responsibility to raise resources in tough economic times.
The current Canadian economic indicators illuminate the plight of the fundraiser. The Canadian Unemployment Rate sits at 7.2%, Youth Unemployment Rate is 13%, the Canadian Dollar at $1.39, while the Inflation Rate sits at 1.6% and the Food Inflation Rate at 3.7%. The nation is feeling the impact of low oil prices while bracing for more job losses. The charitable sector recognizes it is not immune to the current economic conditions felt across the country.
During these times families adjust their spending and individuals consider if donating to charities is possible. Governments undertake reviews of the social programs to balance budgets that may influence charitable grant programs. Corporate funders rethink how their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives align with community needs. All the while, fundraisers require support to achieve the financial needs of the charity.
So what can be done to support the fundraiser?
- Acknowledge the added pressure placed on the fundraiser as much as the organization. Maintain an open dialogue and rally support.
- Engage cross-functional teams to create shared response plans. Economic impacts should be viewed as organizational challenges, not simply departmental.
- Acquire internal and external situational awareness. Talk with funding partners, allied professionals, other charity executives and industry leaders.
- Adjust work plans to what is mission critical. Trim back the ‘nice to do’ activities.
- Review prospect and donor files to anticipate changes, risks and gift deferrals. Be vigilant in the evaluation.
- If necessary, adjust fiscal goals and operational plans to mitigate risk.
- Seek ways to improve financial and stewardship reporting.
- Increase communications to all stakeholders. Tell your story.
- Celebrate success.
- Remember fundraising is a marathon not a sprint.
It’s not all doom and gloom! Economic downturns present an opportunity to recalibrate, create more effective teams, innovate, implement greater efficiencies and rally the team around the fundraiser. Time well spent now can yield great benefits later when the economy turns around.
More than ever it’s a time to tell your story and promote the mission.
If you have a story or idea you would like to share about your organization and how to support fundraising efforts reply or send your comments.