Keep A Long-term View

I recently attended the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands. It was a heady experience with over 950 delegates representing 60 countries. Meeting and learning from colleagues on a global scale is becoming increasingly more valuable for all of us as we compare and benchmark with our peers.

As you can well imagine, the state of the economy was on everyone’s mind, played into many sessions and was the focus of a special mini-plenary on the last morning. But what was most interesting: attendees were upbeat about plans for the next year and saw opportunities in the challenges being presented.

Over the course of the Congress, an online survey was undertaken to explore the implications of the global financial crisis for fundraisers. The views of 100 leading worldwide fundraising thought leaders were sought on:

  • How serious the financial crisis is and the broad strategy fundraisers should adopt in response to this global phenomenon?
  • Where in terms of ‘cause’ – children, environment, faith etc – these international experts think the financial crisis will impact most?
  • What action our experts thought fundraising directors should take to prepare for the emerging changes?

The headline results:

  • Almost 40% of respondents believe that the best response is to fight for market share now; expansion to secure market share is the only option
  • Almost as many favored another strong proactive action though the specific responses varied from downsizing to using reserves to weather the storm
  • European and North American fundraisers are more optimistic than their African or Asian counterparts
  • Globally respondents believe that the three areas most likely to lose out are arts and culture, international development and animal welfare
  • Respondents also agreed that children’s causes, emergency relief, medical and faith-based causes would be least affected
  • North American respondents disagree most strongly on the effect of the funding crisis on disability, education, the environment and faith-based causes
  • Europeans are more concerned than others about the impact on disability, human rights and the elderly.

Tomorrow: some selected ideas from survey respondents on what fundraising professionals and our organizations should do as we ride out the storm.