In this time of crisis, here are two ways Access Philanthropy can help you right now:
Free 30-minute telephone consultation to talk about messaging, writing, fundraising, and staying connected with donors, prospecting – or other related topics we can help you with at this time.
- Email Gail at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
Watch our short webinar on fundraising during these uncertain times.
Dear Clients, Co-Workers and Friends,
Undoubtedly, you’ve received a few emails that start “out of an overabundance of caution…”.
The Access Philanthropy team understands this pledge to caution. So, we’re letting you know — 1) How
AP is responding to current concerns, and 2) our view on fundraising in high drama times.
About the Current Situation
First, 16 of our 18 staff, writers, and consultants already work remotely, so closing our office at 2100
Stevens is not an issue for us.
Second, Access Philanthropy is converting our upcoming client meetings, prospect meetings and “Coffee
with AP” meetings to online or phone meetings. We intend to use online and phone meetings until
somebody gives us the “all (or mostly) clear” sign.
Third, our database will continue to be updated on a daily basis and will remain available 24/7. If you
need technical help, our colleague Sea will be available for help faster than a speeding plumber.
Fourth, I really prefer face-to-face meetings to online or phone meetings. So, I am very open to working
out how we can get together in a safe environment, if you would like that.
About Fundraising in High Drama Times
Access Philanthropy has been through three high drama times now – 9/11, the 2008-2011 Recession
and now the pandemic.
First, recognize that funders will not have the resources they once had – for a long time. During the
recession, Minnesota private funders lost nearly 26% of their principle (more than almost any other
metro area). Many funders, especially smaller family foundations, are still struggling to get back to their
pre-recession funding levels or they have decided to decrease their annual contributions to their funds.
The stock market news is already giving us a preview of how much funders’ portfolios are going to suffer
over the next year or so. We expect this trend of decreased resources and decreased funder
commitments to continue, or even increase, with the new troubles.
Second, pre-tax giving by corporations went from around 2.1% (national average for top 100
corporations) in 2007 to about 1.6% in 2013. Those corporations needed to recoup losses, but in the
process of recouping their losses many corporate giving programs also took advantage of the opportunity
to 1) shift their giving priorities to more market-driven priorities (workforce, STEM, college
programs) or 2) alter their giving priorities to more employee-based programs (matching gifts,
hometown giving, scholarships).
During the last few weeks, I’ve spoken with three corporate funders who believe the pandemic will
dramatically change the nature of corporate giving as it did during the recession. I can see that.
Third, our annual survey of individual donor families indicated that families giving more than $10,000
per year shifted their philanthropy in the recession to causes that shouted urgency. Most nonprofits felt
the urgency of those bad economic times, but those who SHOUTED urgency were more likely to be on
donors’ lists. Urgency continues to be a key marker for donors and causes, but look for urgency to
substantially increase in donors’ priority list.
Fourth, if history is any indication, the pandemic will cutback government resources a lot, which in turn
will take a long time to recover. In 2012, almost half of Access Philanthropy’s new clients were
organizations which had relied on government for 90% of their annual budgets. Because they could no
longer count on government sources, they came to us to find new private sources. Many of those clients
have recovered and are thriving. But their search for new funding substantially increased the
competition for private funding, an increased difficulty for nonprofits depending on private funding.
Finally, many nonprofits decided to cut their fundraising budgets and staff so they could retain program
staff or resources. A good decision, especially when people are really hurting.
However, many of those organizations (including some very well-known Minnesota nonprofits) that
substantially cut their fundraising resources actually damaged or killed a lot of good relationships with
past funders and donors. Several donors and funders whom I interviewed at the time simply felt the
relationship between them and non-communicating nonprofits had ended and they – the funders –
were obligated to create or be open to new relationships.
Our best suggestion is this: During these high drama times, keep your relationships with current
supporters and continue to develop new funder relationships. Why? because funders and donors are
willing to move on from you AND in a while, these funders will see an overabundance of new requests.
So, Access Philanthropy will continue to be good partners in fundraising for our current and new clients and we encourage you to think deeply about your short-term and long-term fundraising strategies.