Fundraising during the time of crisis

Marta Zadravec

The economy is in the bad shape and the things may only get worse. Fundraising during the times of crisis can be challenging and fundraisers will look for ways to respond to the crisis.

We have to accept that the world has changed as we know it. We need to adapt to the new normal. For starters, rather than panicking, you should consider a rational way to respond to the crisis.

Technology as a turning point

You are probably working from home and adapting to the new way of working. The first thing you should accept is technology. Try to get comfortable with technology and use it for your advantage.

Start fundraising over the phone and organize a video meeting. Now is the time to put in place online communications channels and marketing.

Connect with donors. Facilitate direct contact from the people in your organization that have influence with donors. Their influence comes from the positions they hold and the fact that they are not paid to raise money. That means, above all others, leadership volunteers and Chief Executive Officers.

The perfect time to have a call is now during the crisis. You want to make sure your donors are doing alright and you want to show concern and appreciation.

Be attentive to your donors

There are lots of ways you can cut the costs of fundraising. For example, you can stop prospecting for new donors and telemarketing efforts. You can also try to eliminate thank yous to donors.

However, you have to keep fundraising. Whatever the economic condition, business goes on. You can’t treat loyal and responsive donors like statistics. And you can’t stop building your donor database.

The only defensible, businesslike way to respond to an economic crisis is to recognize that fundraising requires both continuing investment and ongoing care.

Don’t stop talking to your donors, just because the world is shaken. Past experience shows some donors never forgive the charities that don’t reach out in times of need. In the article at Philanthropy, people who work in fundraising, technology and other businesses have shared their stories.

Consider fundraising online

Online fundraising does not represent salvation during the time of crisis and yet billions of dollars have been raised online. Fundraising online has multiple benefits for nonprofit fundraisers, most of them having little to do with money.

It could attract younger supporters, and reinforce appeals sent through the other channel. Enhanced investment in online communications will pay many dividends, reinforcing near-term fundraising efforts and laying the foundation for a more prosperous future.

You can organize a virtual event and have peer to peer fundraising campaigns.

The nonprofit reaches out to loyal supporters and asks them if they want to participate in the fundraiser. If supporters are willing to participate, they then set up their own online fundraising pages (with the nonprofit’s help). These individual pages link up to the nonprofit’s main peer-to-peer fundraising page. There are also plenty of other ideas on how to launch online fundraising.

The key takeaway of this article is to stay persistent in your fundraising and don’t forget about your donors. Have a meaningful conversation with them and express your concern about the current situation. Your donors will appreciate you more and remember you in the future.