We are towards the end of an unprecedented 10-year growth run in the stock market. Many analysts agree we are overdue for some sort of correction. I have no idea if they’re correct … and if I did, I’d be on a beach sipping a fruity drink and not writing this blog!
However, I do have a few observations:
- Philanthropy, like the market, doesn’t like uncertainty
- Many concur that the US “economic soup” is poised for a slow down
- Presidential elections create uncertainty
We learned so much during the 2008 recession. Our advice to our clients then was to “love them when the market it down, and when conditions improve you will be first in line.” Those that heeded this advice kept their donors close, making giving more consistent and helping them bounce back faster.
Understanding that we might be in for some uncertainty in the next year or two, why not step up your stewardship plans now? Keep your Top 20/Next 30 donors and prospects close with some intentional communications and relationship-building.
- Make sure you are connecting with them (in person and electronically) in meaningful ways that aren’t just asking for money
- Over-communicate. Don’t assume they know everything your organization does or where funds are needed.
- Thank and recognize them in ways that are meaningful to them. Don’t know what that is? Use 2019 to get to know how they like to be thanked.
- Put a face to the case and let them see your program first-hand. Show them their ROI (return on impact) in an up close and personal way.
- Don’t make their giving decisions for them. If the economy does stumble, not everyone will feel the pinch equally.
As the economy tightens, its natural for donors to evaluate which charities will remain in their “philanthropic tent” moving forward. Our goal is to stay in that tent!
Sometimes history has a lesson to teach us. This lesson from 2008 still holds true: love them when the market is down and when conditions improve you will be first in line!
PS – If I’m wrong about an economic downturn, you will still have gotten closer to those who love and support your cause the most!