Ever notice how much easier it is to talk about or discuss something you’re knowledgeable or passionate about? Even going on stage in front of a crowd becomes exponentially more effortless when you know your stuff. The same is true for fundraising! Barbara talks about equipping yourself or your fundraising team with the right tools and knowledge as a foundational piece of creating confident fundraisers. Without the tools and expertise, all that is left is bravado.
If the organization has the right tools, fundraising becomes not necessarily easier but smarter.
Whether this year-end has us facing a recession or resting in some normalcy, Barabara recommends preparing by doing a mid-year check-up. Looking internally at your organization’s communications, giving timelines, and giving patterns in relation to funding is critical. What trends do you see happening? Are course corrections necessary? That said, an external temperature check with your donors is also a great way to predict what the year’s final months will be like.
Are you donors anxious about the economy?
Or, are they ready to explore non-emergent ways to give?
Likewise, have you discussed life events happening for them?
Taking a close look at where your organization and constituents are at can help inform a solid year-end plan based on facts.
What you’re doing for GivingTuesday or year-end fundraising is preceded by the 10-11 months before that. Are you building a cadence that will lead you to bigger and more significant gifts later in the year?
Economic uncertainty and talks of a recession are enough to send any fundraiser into a tailspin. Barbara reminds us to look back and regroup in light of knowing that donors have been here before. Over the past decade-plus, Giving USA has shown an overall upward trend with minimal dips tied to recessions and economic crises. In each instance, philanthropy rebounded quickly. Don’t let panic or apprehension stifle your fundraising. Proceed confidently, knowing that your cause is an essential investment for your donors.
Barbara has thirty years of annual fund, major gifts, and campaign fundraising experience at major nonprofit organizations, not to mention Harvard University, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Oxford University in England, and the American Red Cross. Her consulting firm, Windmill Hill Consulting, helps nonprofit organizations peel back the layers and develop a profitable fundraising strategy coupled with building more effective donor relationships and catapulting their revenue.
She serves as past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Washington DC Metro Chapter and as a former member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare (Ro-gar-AY), The Fundraising Think Tank in the U.K. She is a frequent and sought-after presenter at national and international conferences. In 2020, she joined the faculty at the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute teaching nonprofit fundraising.