For those of you deeply engaged in running organizations in Covid19 times, the new normal is still new and far from normal. The following describes how one of our client groups faced their annual spring fundraising appeal. It will resonate with the many discussions your team has had recently as all nonprofits struggle with a changing world. What may surprise you is the good news result. Read on.
Mid-March staff meeting: Maybe we shouldn’t ask for money this spring at all. The virus hasn’t directly hit us. We did have additional expenses but it’s not like we are front line medical personnel. It seems almost unethical to ask right now.
April staff meeting: Okay, let’s do this annual spring appeal, but let’s streamline it so it doesn’t get in the way of our intense program shift. Actually, let’s tell our community just what we have had to go thru this spring to deliver on our mission. The overtime, the new equipment, the stress . . . but let’s not ask for much. Maybe just under last year’s goal. It’s a pandemic man; people aren’t gonna be able to give.
Early May staff meeting: Some good news. We got a donor to spontaneously offer a challenge for the spring appeal. Well, it wasn’t exactly spontaneous – we had actively reached out to a few dozen donors and others in our inner circle to give them our Covid-19 update. Let’s get some other key challenges together to reach 1/2 our goal.
Late May into June:
- Direct mail appeal letter goes out snail mail; repeat by email;
- Wait – we can’t do this! Protests are in the street. Are we sure we can ask for our cause when it’s connected -but not central – to Black Lives Matter? Yes. We are committed to racial justice. It is part of who we are and must continue to be. Let’s keep the spring appeal active!
- Social media posts begin; echo with personalized outreach from the board and campaign committee members to dozens of previous donors;
- More social media and e-blasts as the Day of Giving unfolds.
Day of Giving: Wow, did you see how many donations we got already? This thing is nearly hitting our noontime goal right out of the gate. This is happening! By the end of the day, we just absolutely doubled our goal. And nearly 1/4 of our community members gave us money.
This culture of philanthropy thing really works.