What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Non-Profits, Fundraising, and Tough Economic Times

I sit on the boards of or work for at least 8 organizations in the state of Wisconsin. Some non-profit 501(c)3 organizations, some non-profit 501(c4) membership/advocacy organizations, some political organizations. For the purposes of this post, none of them will be named, because it's not necessary. This isn't about just my organizations that I care about, in fact, what's most important is that it is an organization YOU care about.

In tough economic times, things get tough for everyone, but for these types of organizations that rely solely or primarily on the generosity of their members, donors and benefactors, your donation means more now than ever before!

Membership and political organizations for example have lots (thousands or 10's of thousands) of small donors, $10-$50 that they give annually because they care about the work the organization does and want to give something to keep it going or just want to be able to say they are a member. These donors are often the hardest hit in a recession (or arguably a depression) because many donors just cannot afford even that level of giving. Often donations to membership organizations are not tax deductible and so, they are the first donations cut in a budget. In even a 10% or 15% drop off in a year, the effects on programs and staffing can be devasting! In off election years, political organizations in particular are forgotten in the donation mix.

Foundations that have tax deductible donations often have much smaller donor bases who give much larger donations. In tough economic times donations are altered by these larger donors. The donations are put off until later in the year, they are similar to the previous year's donation amount and sometimes are even downsized depending on the extent of the fiscal issues the donors are facing.

In times like these, your donations to the organizations you care about most are more critical than ever! Many non-profits are struggling in ways that are dramatic. I know of staffing cuts, program cuts, delayed projects, salary decreases, benefit cuts, and core services barely being preserved in so many organizations right now, it would blow your mind!

So as someone who has causes I care about that are teetering and as someone who knows that no matter your politics or critical issues, your organization is struggling:
  • Give
  • Give early in the year (early gifts help to delay disaster planning and layoffs)
  • Give more than once (this can be done easily by setting up small monthly payments $10/month is $120/year and that's more than your usual $35 annual gift and will help more as a steady stream of income)
  • Give more than you did last year if you can
  • Join an organization you care about but have never given to before
  • Renew your membership
  • No matter the organization or cause you give to, let them know, you are giving because Crawford's Take asked you
The organizations you are about to give to will be sustained and the work you care about will continue ONLY if you reach a little deeper and give a little more on behalf of those who care, but just cannot.

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