The past year has been tough for some, with half of not-for-profit organizations reporting a decline in income, but one third (33%) of fundraisers have successfully bucked the trend and generated additional income despite the recession, according to The Management Centre’s Global Fundraising Confidence Survey 2009. The survey includes the views of 126 leading fundraising directors and sector experts from Europe, Asia, North America, Australia and Africa about the impact of the financial crisis on the nfp sector.
The survey follows up on one conducted in 2008 and highlights which organizations, causes and regions have and will be most affected and what strategies fundraisers should adopt to overcome economic instability.
Results show that not-for-profit organizations in Asia were hardest hit with an average income fall of 13 per cent, compared to an average decline in Europe of just one per cent. Globally more than half (56%) of fundraisers said they feel more optimistic about donations in the coming year, although Europeans are more pessimistic than any other region.
Interestingly 54 per cent didn’t blame the global recession entirely for a fall in income, but also cited difficulties in recruiting good fundraisers, poor crisis leadership from other directors and the board and a lack of effective strategy for dealing with the crisis.
Positive factors contributing to income included increased investment in fundraising and working harder to counteract anticipated income falls, finding new sources of income, major donors stepping in to boost income and innovation in fundraising to create new offerings.
The research highlights the potential for success where fundraisers took a proactive approach in meeting the recession head on. When asked to indicate what broad strategy they had used for tackling the recession, over half favored ‘fighting for market share – expansion has been our key tactic’ (30%) or ‘taking effective action quickly to maintain donations’ (25%).
The most common recommendations for building income against the backdrop of the recession were:
- Stay close to donors. Work with them to explain the situation for beneficiaries, but don’t put them under too much pressure.
- Diversity and improve communication with donors. Get to know their needs better by improving research and databases. Make sure feedback is sought and treated seriously.
- Apply a variety of fundraising approaches, don’t just stick to one. Linked to this was a desire to use social media more effectively.
- Reduce costs through a range of measures from applying low cost fundraising methods to applying a pay freeze.
- Be innovative. This covered a range of suggestions including working closely with other similar organizations.