Rise and Respond – Your Mission Matters!

Newly reported trends show that securing charitable gifts generally is dropping, and to where they are directed is shifting. As reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy last week, Americans giving to charities dropped to 73% over the last 12 months which represents a new low exceeding the 79% figure set back in 2009 during the Great Recession. Furthermore, as the Chronicle separately reports, Americans are responding emotionally to the clear and present COVID-19 human services needs with greater support to hospitals and health causes – at least in the short term and unknown longer term – to the financial detriment of education, the arts and environment organizations.

Many nonprofit executives may look at these numbers and facts and feel dismayed and discouraged. I see opportunity and promise. Now is the time for nonprofits to build on this trust with donors. In this crisis, nonprofits must elevate their message by re-emphasizing relevance through their mission and service delivery. Every organization has been impacted in some way. Your next step of how you rise and respond is what is most important.

With your respective professional and lay experiences, I remind you to boost your approach and consider:

  • Communicate and show your “mission in action” – keep moving forward;
  • Think about relevance and impact every day;
  • Continue to show and teach others the joy and impact of giving;
  • Consider rethinking strategies and funding priorities – what are “real” partnerships and collaborations for your organization?

And lastly, and I think this is the most important:

  • Never make the decision for the donor.

Too often I hear professionals say, “I don’t think person X will give” or “the person may not be interested.” Do not put roadblocks for people not to give. Ask! (Remember, the number one reason why people have not given to your organization is because they have not been asked.)

As difficult as it may be at times, keep that forward progress. Use this long weekend to recharge – read a book, hike, run, garden or grill out. Whatever you do, enjoy in the company of family – and perhaps a few friends!