Nonprofit Fundraising in the time of COVID-19

We’ve spoken with many across the digital fundraising space who have reached out with questions regarding how we continue our work online in the face of crisis and uncertainty. With partners across sectors, we have a comprehensive view into the overall state of charitable and political giving. In a webinar this spring, Anne Lewis, our president, and Maureen McNally, executive vice president, discussed what we’re seeing so far, challenges organizations are facing, and strategies we’re implementing to better enhance the digital program.

Key Takeaways

  • What are other nonprofits seeing in terms of effects to revenue or engagement?
      • When there’s the ability and it makes sense to lean into a response around this, nonprofits should message on the situation and should continue to fundraise, but it’s important to share in concrete terms the impact your organization is having.
      • Organizations whose work doesn’t directly affect coronavirus should avoid fundraising directly on this topic.
      • Overall, this situation is not yet decreasing results across the digital space, and is boosting results for those who can fundraise on it.
  • How can your nonprofit use digital to make up for offline fundraising quickly and effectively?
      • If you can identify your target audience, create a unique email stream for that audience and ask them to give online to make up that revenue.
      • Email is the quickest channel to get up and running for new targeted streams, but SMS is also scalable quickly and can be used as a break from fundraising – for example, sending updates from your CEO about your organizations’ response efforts that land directly in someone’s push notifications.
  • How does this affect your content cadence and message balance?
      • Right now, it doesn’t make sense to plan long term, but rather to make nimble and quick decisions based on the data and shifting trends weekly, and even daily.
      • If you’re not already, introduce more high-touch messages from your organization’s leadership about your response efforts. Thank supporters and acknowledge their generosity during this time.
      • It’s important to stay honest and transparent about the work you are doing and how you are responding to this outbreak.
      • Most importantly, regarding cadence, your donors will tell you when enough is enough – and you’ll know when your emails stop raising money. If donors continue to give, they are telling you they are okay with fundraising.

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Anne Lewis Strategies, an Infogroup Company

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