Don't blame the economy for lagging mission funds

PORTLAND, Oregon, June 26 /Christian Newswire/ — Nonprofit organizations around the country are preparing for a long, hot summer. Their concern: the nation’s ongoing financial woes, coupled with the summer’s traditional decline in donations as Americans take vacations, will leave them short on funding. While many will see a decline in giving, it is not just the economy that is to blame – it is fundraising practices that do not connect donors deeply enough to the nonprofit.

“Uncommitted donors who give from their excess will stop giving. But this is based as much on donor relationship as it is on the economy.” says Eric Foley, Mission Increase Foundation Vice President of Giving and Training.

So what can attendees at Mission Increase Foundation’s no-cost workshops expect to hear about “crisis fundraising” — telling donors the organization will be in deep trouble unless someone bails them out — this summer?

“Don’t do it!” Foley states. “There are abundant resources available for nonprofits who demonstrate excellence. Crisis fundraising is short-sighted and manipulative,” Foley contends.

Mission Increase Foundation trains nonprofits to communicate on a vision level, showing donors the impact they make in others’ lives. “Our training focuses on sharing this bigger vision–through strategic planning, fundraising banquets, and capital campaigns,” Foley explains. “We want ministries to transform donor’s hearts, not just beg for money.”

Studies confirm Foley’s optimism, particularly for faith-based nonprofits. The 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey indicates that donors to evangelical causes continue their charitable giving, even in a slow economy. “Evangelicals have a strong tradition of generosity in tough times,” says Foley, “and nonprofits skilled at communicating their vision and demonstrating proven results can successfully reach this audience and grow their organization.” But Foley cautions there are no quick fixes. “Nonprofits must discipline themselves to develop and maintain these skills.”

Foley points to universities across the country as an example of this discipline. “They are focused on communicating their vision, engaging their constituents at ever-deeper levels of commitment, and demonstrating the value of their cause.

“All nonprofits, regardless of size or history, can learn these same fundamental principles of fundraising,” says Foley. “When they master them, they won’t need to worry about a slumping economy or donations dipping in the summer months.”

Mission Increase Foundation’s upcoming summer workshops and labs will be on donor databases and direct mail. To register for these workshops in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado or Arizona, please visit

— Contact: Matt Baxter, Mission Increase Foundation, 503-906-1622

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