One doesn’t have to be glued to the news to sense the uncertainty that is gripping the stock market, our nation and even the world. As a nonprofit professional or volunteer, how do you continue to seek support for your mission while acknowledging the volatility of our political, economic and health landscape?


Start With Thanks

It’s never a bad time to say thanks, and it’s more important than ever to say it now. Share your gratitude – and the gratitude of your volunteers or people you served – generously and often. Help donors understand the continuing impact their past gifts have made.


Put the Donor First

Much is said in development circles about donor-centered fundraising. Times like this make that principle even more relevant. Before making an ask in the next few weeks or month, consider the donor’s professional and personal circumstances. If they have been particularly affected by recent economic changes, perhaps it would be wise to delay an ask for support.

If you don’t know if it’s a good time, ask for permission to ask (again). Don’t put the donor in the awkward position of having to say “no” when what they really mean is “now’s not a good time.”


Check Your Automatic Communications

Do you have pledge reminders that are sent automatically? Telephone bank nights? Pledge forms mailed en masse at the beginning of your annual campaign? Take a moment to consider if those messages are appropriate for current circumstances and tweak them if necessary.


Don’t Assume the Answer is No

As much as we encourage you to exercise prudence in making major asks during times of economic uncertainty, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask at all. Not every donor is impacted in the same way. More importantly: your mission still matters. Put your best case forward in a thoughtful way and let the donor choose how they will respond.


In times of uncertainty, we are certain about this: when you love up your donors when the market is down, you will be first in line when conditions improve.  


Want more inspiration for finding certainty in uncertain times? Check out these other DBD blogs:

Be Prepared

Underpromise and Overserve

Lessons from 2008

What Does Love Look Like


Join us: We recently launched the Year of Thanks. It's an online and interactive community of non-profit professionals across the country who are committed to being the best at saying thanks. Sign up to share your great ideas and get inspired by others.

Posted by Bruce Berglund
Bruce Berglund

Written by Bruce Berglund

For nearly 30 years, Bruce Berglund, CFRE, has been a successful professional fundraiser in the fields of higher education, arts and culture, and social services. Bruce is the founder and President of DBD Group (formerly Donor by Design Group), a national firm providing comprehensive fundraising services to nonprofits, churches, community colleges and schools. DBD is currently managing more than $3 billion in capital, annual and endowment campaigns. Bruce is a highly sought-after writer, speaker and teacher.

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