by Victoria Jones, President and Karen Lieberman-Daly, Senior Vice President
Posted August 13, 2020
Let’s face it. COVID is here to stay for the foreseeable future. And, the sooner organizations embrace this new reality, the better the fundraising outcomes will be as we head into new school years, fall events, and year end planning. Many experts have been sending this message out loud and clear: It’s time to stop hoping and start adapting….in ways more cogent and longer lasting than what we may have planned for in March.
Summer is not what it used to be… Many donors have put travel plans on hold and the weather is on your side. Think creatively about engagement strategies that are possible now and will not be in a few months. Many of our clients are reporting that donors are amenable to an outdoor coffee chat, campus walks or outdoor tours of a new facility. One of our clients recently hosted a socially distanced picnic with a small group that was very well received. And, there is always a walk in the park.
While spring had us all thinking that Zoom was best for donors we already knew, we now need to push ourselves to try – at least try – engaging a broader set of prospects virtually. We have talked a lot about ways to do this. Now’s the time for experimentation. As one of our clients said, “Our job is to keep these new donors any way we can…” It’s very likely that new donors will be even more open to engaging in virtual ways.
If you don’t try, it won’t be! Many organizations experienced unparalleled fundraising success from March to June, much around COVID relief and also some genuine commitment to mission sustainability in tough times. Records were set in many ways, and some in unanticipated ways. Several of our clients raised more in their virtual galas than they have ever raised live. Some report that donors who stood on the sidelines for many years chose the heat of COVID to lean in. Two things: 1) The circumstances that precipitated this largesse have not diminished. COVID has not gone away. 2) Unemployment is dangerously high. But…remarkably… the stock markets are still strong. As a result, the majority of donors remain undeterred. In fact, a recent survey showed that more than 70% of donors intend to give at the same level or greater this year in comparison to last. Stay positive and capitalize on this intent.
Summer is traditionally a great time to plan. Given that we are operating in uncharted waters, planning is more critical than ever. Hopefully by now we have all learned that virtual engagement requires even more detailed plans and strategies to be effective and successful.
Many donors have praised the format, particularly when it is creative. They like the novelty and convenience of a virtual event and are actually asking for more! Find additional tips on how to make your virtual event a success in our recent interview with renowned planner Bryan Rafanelli.
In early spring, many active campaigns went “on pause.” Pause is a curious, even risky, concept in a campaign. For some it equated to STOP! It is much, much harder to reinvigorate a paused campaign than it is to recast the plan and move forward, albeit at a different pace. If you haven’t already, now may be the time to recalibrate and launch – or relaunch – your effort.
Revisit our blog post “Campaigns During COVID-19: How Nonprofits Can Forge A Path Forward” for additional advice.
Posted March 19, 2020 by Victoria Jones
We answer our clients’ most pressing questions about fundraising and recruitment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Posted February 20, 2020 by Victoria Jones
How c-level fundraisers can best leverage their time while juggling an array of responsibilities.
Posted May 7, 2020 by Victoria Jones, President and Karen Lieberman-Daly, Senior Vice President
We share the 8 tips your nonprofit organization should keep in mind to keep campaign momentum during COVID-19.