Although some recent news stories have reported postive economic signs, the outlook for the nonprofit sector still looks bleak. Target Analytics’ Index of National Fundraising Performance for the first quarter of 2009 had nothing but bad news.
All key metrics declined for the index as a whole for the first quarter of 2009 as compared to the first quarter of 2008. All of the industry sectors analyzed in the index had revenue declines over this period, and all but one sector had declines in donors as well. For the first time since the index began in 2002, overall revenue per donor declined; revenue per donor declines were experienced by two-thirds of the organizations in the index.
But to paraphrase Rahm Emanuel (who was apparently paraphrasing Stanford economist Paul Romer), "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Chip Grizzard of Grizzard Communications Group makes this point in a recent article on AFP’s website. Grizzard says that "when others scale back on their fundraising efforts, it presents an opportunity to cut through the clutter for those that stay the course." He advises nonprofits to "embrace integrated marketing, focus on donor retention, increase monthly giving, and ramp up or start a planned giving program." Kevin Johnson of Retriever Development Counsel makes similar points in discussing why nonprofits should not cut back on their fundraising efforts now. He says: