“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Ghandi said. His call to put our ideals into practice has been taken up by many nonprofits, inspiring new recruits to make a difference by teaming up with non-profit organizations.
The command takes on new meaning in the midst of the recession that has hit non-profit organizations hard. Americans, especially students, don’t have very much change – let alone big checks – to dole out to deserving organizations.
We can’t always give our change, but, like Ghandi said, we can be it. Americans are just as able – and probably more willing than ever before – to find ways to support organizations outside of writing checks. Check out this list from Women & Co. – “How to make a difference without a dollar” – for proof.
How do you make a difference in the recession? It’s less about money, and more about lifestyle changes. I might not be able to pull out my checkbook at every request, but though money is tight, I can use my time and my talents to make a difference. It’s activism over giving. The strongest non-profits today are the ones that can see the great potential in this trend, and find ways to make it work for their organizations.
Being the Change
Mobilizing prospects takes many forms in the recession. One solid strategy is through in-kind donations. Instead of cash, supporters can give needed items – like computers, clothes or school supplies. They can also give their talents, which is where a non-profit today can strike gold. Instead of hiring a new part-time employee to tackle a project, organizations can tap into their donors’ skills. Among your lapsed donors, you probably have writers, artists, contractors, cooks and computer experts – short on cash, rich on talent, and willing to make a difference.
In tough times, a great volunteer recruitment and mobilization strategy complements (but certainly doesn’t completely replace) traditional development efforts. Focusing on people is a real way to invest in the organization’s future when money is tight. These deeply committed individuals may turn into your best donors down the road.