Fundraising Communications in the New Administration

Fundraising Communications
Date Published
Kate Ryan

Any change that affects your organization can cause you to become a little nervous. After all, your organization’s work and its future are what you care about most. So any change in administration typically causes a little unrest among fundraisers.

You need to be able to be prepared for – and plan ahead for – changes. That’s a difficult task given the near constant turmoil in Washington DC. So what does that mean for your individual and major giving teams and their fundraising efforts and communication strategy in the coming years?

  • You do you. First and foremost, keep doing what your organization does best. Stay on mission. No external changes should change who you serve and how. Do not shift with the political winds. Do not react to every news cycle. Don’t dump your alliances and current partnerships.
  • Stay informed. Keep up with potential changes but don’t get dragged into the daily minutia of the news cycle. Focus on the end result and adjust your strategies as necessary.
  • Communicate. Make sure your constituents know about what you’re up to, the good work you’re doing, and how much you need their participation to do that work. Explore your circles of influence and make connections. Humanize your mission and engage with local politicians.
  • Communicate more. If your organization is challenged by federal or state funding cuts, tell your donors about it. Here’s an example: “In these times when Federal support is uncertain, and State support could be cut by as much as 10%, your support is vital!”
  • Personalize. Step up your personalized donor interaction. Invite donors for visits, take them on tours, let them see your mission in action, hold face-to-face meetings, follow up with a personal note. Special events alone are not going to keep your donors coming back.
  • Remain apolitical. Get prepared and know your audience before face-to-face meetings occur. If your prospect begins down a partisan path, don’t take the bait. Bring the conversation back around to your organization and its mission.
  • Engage the millennials. At their typical gift sizes, millennial giving is less likely to be impacted by tax deductibility. But, they have talent, time, and are passionate about the causes they support. These are the folks who mobilize and volunteer.
  • Ramp up your sustainer program. Remove the focus from large, year-end gifts when donors are more likely to pause and consider the tax ramifications. Year-round, monthly giving prevents the decision from being made strictly in December.
  • New donor acquisition will always be important. Regardless of the future, but especially if current donors do make a reduction in giving, continually bringing on new donors is critical to your success.

Your donors are still your donors. You may just have to work harder to be sure that your cause is important enough for them to contribute despite their political leanings.

Want to learn more about how to communicate with donors under the current government’s administration? Email me at

About the Author:

Kate Ryan, Account Director
Kate has more than 10 years of experience in a variety of fundraising roles. Previously, she served as Director of Membership and Database Management at the Nine Network, St. Louis’ public television station. There she was responsible for direct mail, telemarketing, web donations, on-air acquisition, gift acknowledgement, database management, and managing the Membership and Viewer Services team. As a DMW Account Director, Kate puts her strategic, creative, and budgeting skills to work in service of several public broadcasting clients, who benefit from her deep and varied experience in public media and understanding of member data and how the two combine to result in compelling fundraising campaigns.

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