Week-In Review:

 

The dismal drone of economic downturn continued unabated as stock markets dipped, retailers forecast a bleak holiday season, Ad Age reported that online consumer spending is also slowing, and representatives of the G-20 convened an emergency economic summit in Washington, D.C. that will run through the weekend.

 

Here at the Agitator we released our latest white paper, “Giving Across Generations” as part of the launch of our new Premium Service, and are now at work on our first telebriefing –“Fundraising in Tough Times” – which will be held next Friday afternoon and is available free of charge to all Agitator readers on a first-come-first-“seated” basis.

 

Week of November 10

 

MondayNew Agitator Paper: Giving Across Generations

On Monday The Agitator released the first in its new series of DonorTrends White Papers. These papers are available only to subscribers to The Agitator’s new Premium service.Among the findings:

  • Strongest growth in giving since 2006 has occurred among Newbies;
  • Boomers are the enigma, declining in both percent giving and average gifts (we offer a theory as to why this might be occurring);
  • The “hot” giving category across all generations is animal protection and welfare;
  • The top areas for advocacy giving going forward appear to be family values, environmental protection, advocacy for the needy, and human rights.
  • The most significant future challenges to America perceived by donors are falling educational achievement, coping with global economic competition, and the inability of the political system to deal with major urgent issues.

Learn more about our Premium service to access the full analysis along with actionable recommendations.

 

Tuesday: Conscious Consumption – All About Value

 

Two exceptional articles from the LA Times and NY Times explore how commercial advertisers are responding to the challenging task of selling during a severe economic downturn.

As they see it, given today’s consumer psychology, every offer must emphasize — in a word — value.Both of these articles underscore two big challenges for nonprofit marketers.And as Tom warns, “Effective fundraising appeals are still there waiting to be crafted … but “crafted” is the operative word. In these times, slapping together “same old, same old” messages won’t get the job done.”

Wednesday: NY Times on Giving 

The latest NY Times special section on giving is, as usual, a “must-read” comprehensive review of the state of the philanthropic and charity universe.Whatever your field of interest there’s something in this superb compendium of articles for you. Oddly the one area not covered is the behavior in these troubled times of the small gift donor.For a good overview on the current climate, read Stephanie Strom’s article on the impact of the economic downturn on giving. Her report, prepared with assistance from James Freed, gives a surprisingly upbeat picture, given the circumstances.

 

ThursdayOnline Spending Growth Slows

An AdAge article reports consumer spending online is slowing this year-end, reflecting the overall economic downturn.Perhaps there are warning signs here for online fundraising.Analyzing the figures, Tom offers positive perspective “one might infer that 55% of consumers will spend the same (or even more) online this year! … Might this mean that nonprofits will see online giving hold more firm than direct mail as the year closes out?

 

FridayTell Us Your Vital Signs – 2

Two weeks ago, The Agitator began to take the pulse of nonprofit fundraisers regarding the fundraising outlook for the balance of the year, via our Vital Signs Survey 1. We reported the responses to Survey 1 here.

Please take this Vital Signs Survey 2 by November 19th. Results will be reported on Friday, November 21st both in the daily post and through a special Editor TeleBrief on Friday at 2:00pm EST.Free Registration for the TeleBrief will be open on Monday – be on the lookout the announcement and email on how to join us for this briefing. 

Your Weekend Bonus:   While the excitement and optimism surrounding Barack Obama’s historic ascension remains palpable, it’s impossible to deny the daunting challenges ahead due to the current economic downturn. Some economists posit that we are in for a rapid uptick in the economy before the end of 2009.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who anticipate a global recession/depression extending for a number of years.  Uncertainty remains the watchword, making a white paper authored by Mal Warwick and Dan Doyle of Mal Warwick Associates a must read.   Click here to view the full piece, titled, “Fundraising in Tough Times: A No-Nonsense Guide to Surviving in a Challenging Economy.”

Their report takes a longer term view of the current crisis; focusing on three scenarios for economic recovery, the strategic attitude that philanthropic organizations should choose to adopt for long term success (and the pitfalls of not picking the prudent path), and how this strategic tack should be applied in practical steps.  

Dan and Mal argue that whether the recovery comes quickly, or a lengthy recession ensues, the only wise choice for your organization is to take the “selective approach”.  The case is a compelling one, and further, they provide nine practical steps that you should be considering right now.  

I almost always agree with these guys, including their recommendation to move swiftly to implement almost all of the steps put forth in their white paper. But, frankly I’d think before moving on the fifth recommendation suggesting that testing and innovation be reduced rather than increased.  

I believe that in times like these testing and innovation are more important than ever.   In fact, no matter what the economic conditions, if you aren’t aggressively developing and testing a pipeline of new messages and methods, your long term success is sure to suffer.

Thanks to Dan and Mal for their thoughtful advice.

Have a great weekend.

Roger

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