Charities Working Harder to Find Revenue

With the U.S. economy struggling to recover from recession, nonprofits are finding they have to work harder to raise money and come up with new ways to reach potential supporters, reports.

According to Melissa Berman, CEO of , charitable contributions from U.S. corporations — a significant source of funding for cultural organizations — may have fallen by as much as 10 percent in 2009. Indeed, dozens of such organizations, as well as many other nonprofits, have been forced to shut their doors over the last two years.

To be sure, some nonprofits are faring better than others. In 2009, , a nonprofit that works to bring safe drinking water to people in developing nations, boosted its revenue to $9 million, a 30 percent year-over-year increase, in part by amassing a list of 80,000 donors that included many recruited via Facebook and Twitter. "A number of charities make the mistake of not continuing an aggressive fundraising approach," said William Woodson, managing director and head of family wealth management for Credit Suisse Private Banking USA. "We found that those that retained a rigorous approach were exceedingly effective."

Of course, showing donors that their donations will be used wisely and that an organization is well run are essential to maintaining support in a tough economy. Often, however, it's not enough. When a major donor informed the he was pledging $50,000 instead of the $100,000 requested, organization officials contacted the donor directly and were able to get him to increase the gift to the desired level. "It's the cause and the mission that makes these gifts possible," said Margaret Dowd, the institute's CEO. "And we never give up."

Patrick Cole. "." Bloomberg.com 02/11/2010.