Stern Bears and the effect on fundraising

Howard Lake | 24 March 2008 | Blogs

Having survived more than one recession as an anxious director of fundraising and as a confident consultant, I was tempted to ignore the likely consequences of the recent financial shenanigans. Usually the professional classes keep their jobs and salaries, if anything they may even feel more like helping the less fortunate in times of need, and only those actually laid off really stop giving (yes, I’ve done the research). This time there are two scenarios in play out there that make me hesitate.
My apprehension was aroused by the absence of several ‘definites’ at a recent major donor reception for fat cats I helped organise. Unsurprisingly, the really rich now represent a much higher proportion of charities income, and expectations for 2008, than ever before. Reeling from the downturn in direct mail etc charities have moved heavily and successfully into major donor fundraising. Now enjoying the opening nights, receptions, drinks and canapés lifestyle we may not have noticed that our intended victims (sorry – friends to be) were glued to their screens as their bonuses liquefied before their eyes. Fundraising from those used to trousering huge wads of extra cash each year, is not that difficult; but when the pockets are empty, and uncertainty over their future contents stalks the land, fundraising may revert to being a tough call.
Secondly interest rates, that are we hope being held down, may rise and strip away a significant amount of the giving class’s disposable income. That could really begin to bite on our revenue income.
So, am I bothered? Well, just enough to check your thoughts on the matter…