Published July 14, 2009

5 Tips for Successful Fundraising in a Recession

For smaller businesses and nonprofit organizations, there is often an ongoing need to raise funds for certain types of activities and expenses. Fundraising takes a high degree of strategic execution for success, and the economic recession has made the task increasingly difficult.

Fundraising in a recession is still a possibility, however, but it takes some modifications in order to achieve goals. Here are some recession proof fundraising tips that can guide small businesses and nonprofit organizations through these difficult economic times:

  1. Focus on corporate giving

    While families and individuals may not have the extra cash in hand to make donations, larger corporations are a key target group for recession fundraising. The reason is because donations from corporations are beneficial to both the donator and the recipient. Donators receive significant tax breaks for making in kind donations, therefore fundraising in a recession is still possible when the money is coming from corporate sponsors.

  2. Never apologize

    There is a tendency to become apologetic when fundraising in a recession. It is natural to be cautious about asking people to donate when everyone is feeling the effects of the dwindling economy. The important thing is to keep a positive tone and never apologize for making fundraising requests. A good way to avoid sounding apologetic when doing recession fundraising is to focus on the positive aspects that your small business or nonprofit organization is bringing to the community. Highlight the good and send a message that your services are necessary to keep morale high in the local area.

  3. Exercise financial responsibility

    An important element to include in your recession fundraising pitch is a demonstration that your organization is financially responsible. Show potential donors that you have taken steps to cut overhead costs during the recession. This can be done with a simple chart or bulleted list. You might also consider highlighting the fact that your funds are kept in a FDIC insured bank and discussing any backup or contingency plans that your organization has in place. These little details will help you make a recession proof fundraising campaign.

  4. Explore diverse funding options

    When it comes to fundraising in a recession, it's important to explore diverse options. Your small business or nonprofit organization should not rely upon the generous donation of one corporate sponsor or even two or three large independent donations. The key to a steady and stable recession proof fundraising campaign is to garner support from multiple sources. A large base of diversified supporters making small donations is much better for recession fundraising than one or two big donations.

  5. Monitor recession fundraising campaigns regularly

    Fundraising takes a significant investment of time and energy, which is ultimately a financial investment from your small business or nonprofit organization. Monitor your recession fundraising campaigns for results and effectiveness regularly. Eliminate initiatives that are not generating a good return on investment. Carefully revise strategies that show promise but don't produce the right kind of results.

Fundraising in a recession in indeed possible, but like other facets of business, it will require a new level of dedication, tact and diplomacy. Developing a recession proof fundraising campaign is critical for the success of your small business or nonprofit organization. Use these tips and a good dose of positive thinking to achieve your ultimate goals.