Will there be a Trump Slump?


By Kathy Swayze

January 21, 2021

With President Biden and Vice President Harris now leading our nation, many of us will breathe a sigh of relief. For those who work in progressive causes, it’s a new day for our country.

But what will this mean for your fundraising program? When Trump was elected four years ago, many of Impact’s clients who work in the social justice or progressive advocacy space saw their donations soar. Fundraising loves a bad guy. So, what do we do when the bad guy is gone? Here are five tips to help you keep your donors giving boldly in 2021 and beyond:

  1.  Go on offense. For the past four years, we’ve had to play a lot of defense. Now it’s time for offense. Outline your proactive agenda and the opportunity to make progress that was not possible before. Many organizations are already unveiling their 100 Days Agenda for the Biden Administration. Help your donors see what’s possible.
  2. Talk about undoing the damage. From the deadly pandemic, to economic crisis and deep racial inequality…there is much that needs fixing in our country right now. Tell your donors how your organization is well positioned to help us heal and move forward. We captured this sentiment this in a year end letter: “MADRE was made for this moment and we know exactly what to do.”
  3. Stress consistency—ask donors to stay in the fight. There was a ton of hard work done over the past four years to strengthen movements and build grassroots power – hello Georgia! We must sustain that infrastructure for the long term. I loved this envelope I received recently from the NAACP: “Staying ready so we don’t have to get ready.” This is a great theme for your fundraising.
  4. Remind donors about the opposition. Advancing fairness, rights, and justice may be more possible with a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress, but they will STILL face enormous resistance from well-funded conservative groups. To advance a progressive agenda, we simply cannot afford to become complacent. We must continue to push ALL our leaders to create the change we voted for.
  5. Say thank you. Donor giving increased substantially last year. And many progressive organizations saw strong increases throughout the Trump Administration. Donors have stretched in remarkable ways and it’s up to you to let them know you noticed

A new day is here. We all want to take a moment to feel good and take a deep breath after these past four years—it’s human nature. But don’t rest too long.  It’s up to you to make sure your donors understand that your work is still vitally important, and their dollars still matter. If you need help thinking about your fundraising messaging in the days ahead, give us a call. We are always happy to chat with you.

-Kathy Swayze, CFRE

Are you a DMAW member? Join me for Breakfast with an Expert on January 28th for a chance to discuss your organization’s 2021 messaging plan. Open to DMAW members only.


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