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How Nonprofit Organizations Can Survive a Turbulent Economy Featured

How Nonprofit Organizations Can Survive a Turbulent Economy Maria Lupan

We don’t have a Magic 8 Ball to predict the direction of our economy in 2023. As they plan for the new year, nonprofit organizations should prioritize cultivating donor relationships, as recurring donors give 42% more per year than one-time donors.

Strategies do exist for attracting new donors — even during an economic downturn. Organizations can launch branded campaigns, incorporate donation tiers or offer a recurring donation option, leverage social media and simplify the donation process. But while acquiring new donors is valuable, nurturing existing donor relationships should take priority in this climate, making donor retention strategies more important now than ever.

Fundraising events help nonprofits grow and maintain those relationships. Organizations that “go dark” or cut back on fundraising events during uncertain economic times — or fail to maximize their fundraising capacity with poorly executed events —- will struggle to survive and thrive. Nonprofits must invest in technology to streamline processes, conserve resources and support the fundraising teams.

Find and invest in the right tools

As budgets shrink and boards call to reduce spending, organizations must consider what fundraising tools will help maximize donor relationships and deliver the best ROI.

The more fundraising technologies evolve, the more nonprofits find themselves building connections with donors across multiple tools — hosting virtual fundraisers on one platform, physical fundraisers on another, and payments on yet another.

But shuffling between multiple platforms makes it difficult to stay organized and virtually impossible for organizations’ leadership to gain a full picture of how their donors interact with the organization.

To create a seamless donor experience, nonprofits should look to consolidate platforms — maximizing the opportunity to collect and compare data to engage donors and cultivate loyalty.

An all-in-one platform integrated with your CRM provides a single source of truth for a broad data-informed fundraising strategy, enabling you to:

  • Create more accurate segments.
  • Re-engage lapsed donors.
  • Target donors more effectively with personalized messages.

Nonprofits can leverage their CRM data to maximize the effectiveness of various engagement strategies they already use.

Personalized thank-you emails. Always send a “thank you” immediately after receiving a donation. While an obvious aspect of a donor retention strategy, it’s surprising how often it’s forgotten. Donors expect the usual auto-receipt. Level up your communications by creating customized follow-up messages.

Post-fundraiser surveys. Instead of wondering what motivates your donors to give, ask. Donor surveys provide useful insights for improving retention strategies and enabling nonprofits to identify communication gaps.

Social media connections. Using popular platforms such as Facebook and Linkedin helps to engage a wider audience in your mission. Create posts highlighting major donor contributions and share photos from fundraising events.

Automate processes 

Communication is key to nurturing donor relationships. 53% of donors cite poor communication as the reason they stop supporting organizations. Many factors contribute to poor communication, but tools exist to help nonprofits build effective communication strategies.

Automation tools helps nonprofits facilitate better communication flows to increase donor engagement and retention. An automated communication software built into your CRM captures and uses your donors’ preferred communication channels, such as email or SMS, increasing engagement.

Automation technology reduces the likelihood of errors, frees staff to address more critical thinking tasks and saves time, empowering fundraising teams to plan more effective fundraisers and maximize fundraising capacity at each event.

Whether the economy is on fire — or not — nonprofits must choose the right tools to cultivate their donor relationships. By investing in an all-in-one platform and automating processes, nonprofit teams can develop fundraising strategies that bolster donor relationships to increase contributions used to support the communities they serve.


Matthew Frank, a Denver resident and music enthusiast, has one goal in mind: to empower organizations with apps that delight and ‘just work’. After years working for nonprofits and in higher education, Matthew became frustrated with the many disconnected legacy services that dominated those industries and fell backwards into the world of SaaS technology. This led him to the Salesforce ecosystem where he has worked for multiple award-winning ISV partners in both the US and UK in service to NGOs & EDUs around the world.

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