This week we have a guest post from our good friend and experienced Fundraising Strategist, Lonnie Kirby. Lonnie has worked on both the nonprofit and the agency side for over 30 years serving organizations including The Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
If you have visited the financial district in New York City’s lower Manhattan you may have seen the iconic “Wall Street Bull”. The symbolism of this bull represents the confidence and strength underpinning our economy.
When economic macro-trends are strong and growing the stock market is referred to as a Bull Market.
WE ARE IN A BULL MARKET! Strong and confident, the current stock market may become one of the very best on record.
So what does a bull market – and an iconic bull – have to do with philanthropy?
In the June 12, 2017 Giving USA press release announcing their Annual Report on Philanthropy for 2016 it was noted: “…an example of the link between the economy and charitable giving trends, giving by individuals has historically correlated with changes in such national-level economic indicators as personal consumption, disposable personal income and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.”
The Standard and Poor’s 500 index (as well as other stock market indices) are at record highs.
While this macro-trend has not impacted everyone and is not a guarantee, it does serve as a directional barometer that should be noticed, noted and incorporated into your fundraising plans.
How to capture this opportunity, now?
With four months until the end of the year, now is the time to pause and carefully consider a plan of action between now and December 31 to leverage this bull market into greater support for the work of your organization. Even if the stock market should begin to retreat before year’s end, this period will remain a unique opportunity as there is often a lag between economic market peaks and philanthropic gifts.
Ideas: Cultivate, Appreciate and Ask
Tell an emotional story of success. Tell how one person, family, animal, or cause was helped or advanced, but be prepared with the comprehensive statistics if asked.
Show your story. Offer your donors, community stake-holders and the media a “behind-the-scenes” view of your work. Time this with the launch of a campaign or special event. Even if they can’t participate they will appreciate the offer.
Strengthen current donor relationships. Outline a plan to communicate or enhance your communications with your most loyal donors. Remember – they want to help and be a part of your cause.
Build new donor relationships. Connect, now, with those donors that you have been meaning to connect with but haven’t had the chance. Board members and volunteer ad hoc teams are great ambassadors.
Thank your active donors who have made a recent gift. Success creates success. Provide a clear link between their most recent gift and the impact of that gift. If they feel that their involvement through their gift was successful, it will strengthen the likelihood of a subsequent gift.
Thank your active donors who have not made a gift this year. This group of donors is most critical as they may not have realized that they have not made a recent gift. A special thank you will remind them of their involvement with your cause.
Ask for help. One of the primary reasons gifts are not made is because no one asked. Ask your donors and prospective donors for their caring and concern by making a gift to your cause by showing them a clear example of how their support and their philanthropy will matter and make a difference.