Here is yet another poll on public perceptions of the economy and personal finances … this one from Discover Financial.We’ve reported two similar polls from USA Today and Pew Research in the past few days.The Discover findings point to a consistent trend that might be of interest to fundraisers … people seem to be much more pessimistic about the broad economic outlook than they are about their own personal finances. And so their response as consumers is to remain relatively optimistic, but to temper that optimism with more cautious personal spending.According to the Discover survey (conducted in September):

  • 55% rate the economy as performing poorly;
  • 70% expect things to get worse;
  • 63% say they will spend the same or less in the coming month; but,
  • only 20% rate their own personal siutation as poor; and,
  • 40% rate their personal financial situation as good or excellent.

What might this mean for fundraising?Don’t despair. It would not appear that your donors will be locking their wallets in a vault. But they will certainly be more restrained, and your appeal will need to be genuinely compelling. “Same old, same old” will not work.Fundraising messages should be presented in today’s context, explaining how your need is important and timely enough to deserve their support even while they are tightening their belts. You might even want to explain how your nonprofit is indeed tightening its belt and saving money here and there … yet pressing needs remain … and you’ll stretch their dollars further.Most importantly, don’t stop asking!Tom 

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