Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Say “thank you” even when loyal supporters don’t give

Tip #5 – How to raise money for your nonprofit in 2011

As the nation struggles to regain its economic footing, donations from the middle class continue to wane. Michigan will no longer allow taxpayers to deduct charitable deductions on their state income tax, beginning in 2012. That cuts an incentive to give. Let’s see…should I pay more in taxes or give to a charity, where I know the money will help shelter, feed or otherwise assist someone in need? I trust that decision will be rescinded when times improve and our leaders see the benefit of this vitally important tax deduction.
Photo by Liz Cezat. Huntington Gardens, Calif.
Many people who have donated to food pantries now find themselves in need of basic assistance. With foreclosures continuing to mount, donors who previously had extra money to share at the end of the month are hard-pressed to pay their own bills let alone donate to worthy causes. What’s a charity to do? Get by as best you can with alternative support (foundations; corporate gifts – many are sitting on lots of cash these days; and collaborations with other nonprofits that offer similar or complementary services.)
In the meantime, don’t dismiss loyal supporters. If you keep them in the loop, they’ll return to support your mission when the economy improves. When people have jobs again and can hold on to their houses, they’ll want to share their good fortune with charities that do great work fulfilling their mission.
Thank lapsed supporters in low-cost ways: send an e-mail or a postcard, include a line in your print newsletter. Let them know that you are still counting on them and their support even if they can’t help you now. If you need a creative way to do that, hire a good writer. In fact, I know of one.

P.S. I started with good intentions to provide five tips in the first quarter. However, this series was put on the back burner as I attended to client requests for articles and publications. Did I mention that my middle daughter got married in March? That meant I was also busy being Mother of the Bride – one of the best times of my life. Yes, there’s always an excuse for why business owners (and writers) put off writing their own blogs. The truth is that I’d much rather be writing for clients.

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