Yesterday, Roger published an audio-recording of a conversation he and I had about the impact of today’s traumatic economic conditions on fundraising. Here it is if you missed.

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A key take-away from the conversation was … don’t stop asking! Followed by … words matter! Present your message and need in a context that is relevant to today’s conditions. In fact, we said, a sick economy will heighten the need for certain nonprofits and charities and their programs … and donors will recognize that reality.Here’s a post (I wouldn’t necessarily agree with its title!) by Steve Cebalt at the Nonprofit PR Forum that illustrates these points very nicely. Specifically, consider his two contrasting examples of how a fundraising appeal for “Acme Food Bank” might be presented:Example 1: “The ACME Food Bank needs immediate help from the community. We have lines around the block at out food bank and not enough food to meet the need. If the community doesn’t step up, we’re in trouble.” Steve calls this approach “desperate” and says it might result in “some short-term support to get you through the week, but it will do little to position the food bank for sustained growth over the long term.”Example 2: “The ACME Food Bank is proud to be one of the bright spots in our economic system. The worse the economy gets, the more relevant we become to this community. If we were a business, we’d say demand is great right now – demand for our food distribution has never been higher, thanks to the obvious problems with our economy. If you are looking for a way to make a difference for your less fortunate friends and neighbors during this economic slump, consider volunteering or investing whatever you can in our Community Food Fund. Thanks to in-kind donations and volunteer support, The Community Food Fun provides $9 of food to the hungry for every dollar you donate. Where else can you get that kind of return on your investment these days?”Clearly #2 is the way to go … though I suspect your copywriter could put it a bit more elegantly.So keep asking. And think about your words.Tom

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