Several nonprofit friends have forward me Daniel Gross’s column on the “Coming Charity Crisis” which appears in both Newsweek and Slate.

Yes, it’s likely that charitable giving will drop because of the recession. If you think it’s already hard to raise money for your cause, it may feel even harder before it gets easier again.

But these are the times when it’s important for you as a nonprofit communicator to remember that today’s dollars are not the only measuring stick for your work. All kinds of other important benefits, short term and long term, to your cause and to your organization come from your marketing work.

You can increase the number of people you are talking to now, by growing your email newsletter list, direct mail list, or blog subscribers, who may give someday when the economy is better.

You can educate more people about your issues, and they can act on them now and later as advocates for your cause or by changing their own behaviors.

You can develop deeper, more personal connections with the donors who do continue to give to you now, despite the price of gas.

You can find new and more interesting ways for people to contribute to your organization in ways that don’t involve cash, including volunteering, in-kind gifts, and advocacy on your behalf.

In summary, you can continue to bring new supporters into the fold and move them along the path from showing a passing interest to becoming a passionate patron. The value of the conversation and the relationship is just as important as the donation.

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