With gas, grocery, and utility prices continuing to go up, it’s clear that you’re not getting as much bang for your buck these days. And as most economists agree that a recession is inevitable, it’s a good idea for schools to prepare for their financial future by asking how this inflation rate—the likes of which we haven’t seen since the ’70s and ‘80s—will affect their Christian school fundraisers.
Less Discretionary Income
A little over 2% of American adults’ annual income goes to charitable and individual giving. The majority of that 2% is discretionary income. As the inflation rate increases, it puts a squeeze on the margin of income a household has for charitable giving, as they have to ensure they can afford basic necessities. Non-essentials and luxuries like eating out and getting nails done are constricted. Simply put, as inflation gets worse, people have less money to give.
This especially puts pressure on product-based fundraising for items such as candy bars, cookie dough, Boston Butts, etc. Taking into account that prices for these items are already slightly inflated so you can make a profit, now that budgets are tightened, people are less likely to give much money to product sales.
As more families feel the financial effects of inflation, they’ll look for ways to save money—especially if they’re struggling to afford the things they need. Some parents will struggle to pay tuition and request assistance or scholarships. This, in turn, will put a financial burden on your Christian school to lower tuition (not usually an option) or find the funds to provide more scholarships.
The good news is that Christian school fundraisers fall into the two largest sectors of the non-profit spectrum: religion and education/youth. That means Christian schools are still in the crosshairs of the largest sector of donor dollars.
Relationships Are More Important Than Ever
This doesn’t mean that everyone is struggling due to inflation and they will stop all of their charitable giving. Even as people struggle to pay bills and afford gas, many still faithfully give to nonprofits that are important to them and with whom they have relationships.
Times like these are one of the reasons why donor development is so vital: donors are going to give more where they have relationships. Relationship-based fundraisers for your school (sponsored by friends and family) won’t take as much of a hit as product-based fundraising.
Sending handwritten thank-you letters calling donors to thank them for their giving goes a long way in showing appreciation, that their giving is vital to your school, and that they’re valued beyond their checkbook.
Detailed Strategies for Christian School Fundraisers
Proactively preparing for high inflation rates can make the difference between your school surviving a recession—after which it can take 3-4 years for giving levels to return to normal. We love helping Christian schools and want to see them succeed. Contact The Champion Group to talk through detailed strategies for Christian school fundraisers at no charge.