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What Is Working in Fundraising Right Now

Where to Look for Funds During This Recession


Fundraising in a recession is not fun, but it is necessary. Here are some areas of fundraising that show promise despite the bad economic news.

Online Fundraising

According to an article in ComputerWorld, online giving by individuals in the U.S. was estimated at $10.4 billion in 2007, and early reports for 2008 show an increase in electronic donations to nonprofits despite the economic downturn.

Blackbaud, a vendor in the online giving space, reported that results from more than 2000 nonprofits using their systems experienced steady growth in their online giving through the end of 2008. The average online gift was $152. Blackbaud predicts that in 2009, "...nonprofits that concentrate their efforts on their existing donor base and leverage integrated marketing efforts will do a better job of weathering the storm."

Online Auctions

cMarket, which operates BiddingForGood, reports that funds raised from auctions in 2008 were up 26% in 2008. Auctions booked for the first quarter of 2009 are up 58% over the same period last year.

Besides being fun, an auction is a double win for donors since they can receive something of value while still providing a donation. In addition, the donation of in-kind goods from retailers, manufacturers, and vendors is high due to the build-up of excess inventory resulting from the recession.

Mobile Fundraising

Fundraising through mobile phones is very new and still small, but it is growing rapidly. According to Stephen Joos, Marketing Director of mGive, mobile giving in its first year, 2008, did better than online giving did in its first year back in 1997. Mobile giving raised half a million dollars in $5 donations, representing more than 100,000 new donors.

We think that "mobile phone" charity is going to be one of the big trends in 2009 and beyond.

Grant Programs

We don't yet know how foundation giving will be affected by the recession, although many foundations are stepping up to the plate.

This is not the time to curtail your grant program. Cynthia Adams of the GrantStation, recently pointed out that there continues to be money out there for grants, especially for nonprofits that are experiencing immediate financial stress. There is even an interactive map on the Foundation Center's Web site to locate funding and other help in your area. Here is the information about that map.

There are also grants for startups; and while corporations are cutting back on their grants, they are open to requests for gifts-in-kind because they have excess inventory.

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