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  • Writer's pictureFrances Roen

Keep Calm: Inflation Opportunity Pt 1

Updated: Jun 9

Turn on the radio, read a paper, or listen to the news these days and it’s likely your blood pressure rises a few points. Everywhere we look, the economic message is sounding alarms - inflation, recession, bear market, high interest rates, gasoline prices.


During times like these, when the economy is a mess, we not only worry about our personal ability to stay afloat - as fundraisers - we also worry about our nonprofits’ ability to continue serving our communities.


It’s never been more important to keep the words of the British motivational poster in mind: Keep calm and carry on.

While it’s reasonable to assume that fundraising may be more difficult during an economic downtown, it’s not always the case. The reality is that there are still donors with dollars and

services to give who want to be a part of your mission.


Fundraising, regardless of the economy, requires continued investment and ongoing care. A positive mindset is the most valuable asset you can provide your nonprofit during a downturn. Remember: There are always opportunities in crisis.


Here are four ways you can take advantage of this moment:


  1. Practice gratitude. There are many creative, inexpensive, and meaningful ways to say thank you in today’s world. Send a donor a picture - that you snapped on your phone - of a project they helped fund. Make a thank you video and text or email it. Pick up the phone for a more personal touch, or send off a few quick “thank you” emails each week. While a handwritten, stamped thank you will never go out of style, there are plenty of ways to practice gratitude that don’t cost a penny.

  2. Stay in touch. While this goes without saying, during times of economic downtown staying in touch with your donors and articulating a consistent and accurate message is critical. Don’t be afraid to talk about inflation. Let donors know the impact of the decreased value of a dollar on your nonprofit’s purchasing power and ability to serve.

  3. Focus on retention. While the wealthy and upper middle class will likely be less impacted by inflation, during times of economic downtown it’s even more important to make the case for philanthropic growth at all giving levels. Now is the time to intensify your focus on donor retention, so that all your donors - regardless of giving level - have an opportunity to stay engaged and make a difference.

  4. Make it a match. Rally your board to put together a matching fund or to ask a major donor to make a gift that can be used as a match. For most mid- and high-level donors inflation is often less acute, meaning that you likely have plenty of donors who would happily allow their gift to be used as a match, encouraging others by stretching their dollars a bit further.


Stay tuned for our next post with additional suggestions on engaging donors during economic uncertainty. And if your organization is looking to put together a solid fundraising plan during inflation, reach out to us at hello@fundraisingwellmn.com


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