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Skagit Valley Hospital

One Year Since the Economic Meltdown, Big Gifts Are Still Possible



With business news of the past week focused on the anniversary of the financial meltdown, it’s time to pause and reflect on what has changed or not changed in the nonprofit sector during this unprecedented year.  One lingering fear of the past year has been that gifts of significance—those that are life changing for organizations and donors alike—would simply evaporate as wealthy individuals retrenched and struggled to preserve assets.  While we await 2009’s performance data and 2010’s forecasts, it helps to have good news to focus on. If you’re looking for some to share with your board and staff, read Bill McGinley’s article that appeared in the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s newsletter: 


In it he details recent gifts to five health care institutions, including one of $100 million, and relates his conversation with the fundraising professional, Lisa Silverman, whose shop shepherded this gift—and four other nine-figure gifts in the past year and a half. 

These examples point out that while big gifts in a down economy fly in the face of our intuition they are more than possible, and in fact, in some instances even more likely during times of economic turmoil.  Silverman’s approach challenges all of us to focus on cultivating and building donor relationships, and to reframe these times as ones of opportunity and hope.

Many nonprofits have endured a challenging year since the events of last September.  However, as Bill McGinley writes, “Let us learn . . . to not think in terms of luck, but seize the opportunities we are given with vigor and diligence. The time is now to grow your relationship building efforts, work the relationships you have and do all that is necessary to enhance them.”


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About the Author

Kristin Barsness CFRE

Vice President

With a researcher’s eye for the important details, Kristin understands the intricacies of building strong donor relationships to meet your fundraising goals.


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