2019 was an incredible year for M. Gale & Associates and our clients! We celebrated 10 years of service as a company, moved into our Race Street office in Fort Worth, and added new employees and associates. We are grateful for this year and looking forward to 2020 and we hope you are too!
It’s worth pausing for a few moments to recognize some of the outstanding accomplishments of our clients in 2019 (note to all, this is not a comprehensive list, just a shout out to a few — you are all AWESOME). The Amon Carter Museum of American Art achieved its campaign goal and celebrated a grand re-opening and re-branding of the Museum! The Arlington Life Shelter not only met its campaign goal but in doing so met a challenge by the J. E. & L. E Mabee Foundation. Southwest Christian School is in the home stretch to meet its capital campaign goal with the majority of gifts pledged in less than 12 months. FirstLook launched its first-ever major campaign in 2018 and is very close to completion.
The nonprofit Ronald McDonald House of Dallas exceeded its campaign goal, renovated and opened a new wing to its Dallas House. The Presbyterian Night Shelter is closing in on its campaign goal to renovate and remodel its Men’s Shelter and recently named it the Karl Travis Men’s Center. Texas Health Fort Worth broke ground on a new patient tower and surgical center, naming it the Justin Tower. Their $50 million campaign is well underway!
Equally as important in my mind are the numerous organizations whose leadership stepped up their game by creating or updating their strategic plans, quantified and further developed their fundraising programs and/or pivoted their business plans to become more diverse and stronger organizations overall. Some of our clients who embarked on this type of work included Guardianship Services Inc, James L. West Center for Dementia Care, Streams & Valleys, Irving Archives & Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Methodist Justice Ministries, Mayfest Inc. and many more. This is tough work and I applaud all organizations who test themselves and work toward continuous improvement.
2020 is a presidential election year. In most election years, the US economy fluctuates and reacts to changes in leadership. Additionally, economic booms like we have seen recently do not last forever and will ebb and flow. From those in or planning to embark on major campaigns for your nonprofit, I have been asked what the effect of a downturn in the economy would have on their fundraising. Without a magic ball for predicting individual outcomes I can share from experience in the 2008-09 major recession, those clients who had a strong campaign strategy, understood their prospect base and had tested it prior to entering into the campaign as well as aligned their nonprofit campaign goal and timeline with these realities did well. Similarly, organizations with specific and measurable fundraising strategies and plans with trained and reliable staffing and strong board support also fared the best in annual support. Those who threw up red flags and blamed failure on the economy were also less likely to garner the emergency support they were requesting for this reason.
If you’re wondering or worrying about an economic downturn, now is the time to look at your strategies and plans. Engaging your staff, leadership and the community in planning will give your organization the best sense of what is available and where it may come from. Just as in your personal financial portfolio, diversification in funding streams is the ultimate key to weathering the storm.