New Orleans, La.

In the current climate of shrunken personal savings and swelling unemployment percentages, many folks are feeling less fortunate, literally. Of course, many of these direct mail prospects know that others out there, at home and certainly in Third World countries, have it worse, but the self-preservation instinct is kicking in more than usual, with 2008 ranking as one of the worst years the fundraising sector has seen. At its 46th International Conference on Fundraising in New Orleans, La., held earlier this week, the Association of Fundraising Professionals reported that less than half of charities raised more money in 2008 than in 2007 and, more importantly (or frighteningly), fundraising gains dropped significantly across the board.

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