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? Contact us today.

About the Author:
Kate Ryan
Account Director, Agency Services

Role at the Company

My role involves helping fundraisers find and keep loyal donors while making a positive impact in their communities. Every day, I apply whole-brain solutions to the work I do, using analytics, creativity, and a big dose of nerd to help our clients succeed.

What excites you about your work at AFG?

I love data! And having client-side experience with all three divisions of AFG allows me to rev that motor in a big way.

If you weren’t at AFG, what would you be doing?

Running an apocalypse-themed bowling alley and bar. Probably goat yoga. Managing my kids’ Youtube careers.

What are your hobbies/interests outside AFG?

Spending time with said children, acrylic fluid painting, traveling, bowling (really!), reading, and if there’s time after, a good zombie movie.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

The first time I was ever in a plane, I jumped out. That one time I skydived was pretty cool!

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

As a kid, my family went to Tablerock Lake for our summer vacation. We had a small motorboat that was just big enough for the five of us, and my brother and I learned to waterski soon enough. One morning, dad threw out the ropes and off we went. We tooled around the lake for a long time, neither of us willing to take the first fall of the day. Dad kept circling the boat, forcing us to jump the wakes – still neither of us would take the dive. Finally ran the boat entirely out of gas just outside our cove. Dad got towed back. We had to swim.

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