Fundraising in Times of Uncertainty

Fundraising in Times of Uncertainty

September 23, 2010 by jga_admin

by Kris Kindelsperger

In our discussions with donors and clients in recent months, we’ve observed that some donors are, for lack of a better word – paralyzed – by uncertainty.

Some are looking for more reliability in the markets, some are looking to the November elections for guidance on economic policy, others are looking at January 1, 2011, wondering what the tax structure will be like.

Adding to this anxious mix is a flood of conflicting advice obtained through personal research or from those that may be advising them about what might happen in the months to come.

The instinctive reaction for some is to preserve personal resources and avoid – or postpone -philanthropy. For gift officers this often comes with the message “now is not a good time to make a major gift.”

While those who represent our nonprofit organizations are not financial advisors or financial planners, thoughtful discussion with donors can open opportunities to devise strategies that meet donors’ needs and allay concerns.

Philanthropy is frequently a “win-win” financial situation for both the non-profit and the donor if both can have a frank and open discussion about the outcomes. A carefully planned gift can benefit a donor who is worried about their taxes. Non profits also offer a number of very attractive income producing financial instruments in today’s market.

So, in these uncertain times, now is a perfect time to move beyond the confines of simple gift discussions and to have conversations with donors about how philanthropy might bring a level of certainty to an uncertain world. Non profits are in a unique position to have these discussions.

Are there ways that your organization is productively engaging donors in an uncertain world?