What you should be doing during COVID

April 24, 2020

I have seen so many articles and thoughts on the internet with respect to the next steps in the world of fundraising that I thought I would point out that for every piece of advice out there, one can find the exact opposite piece of advice. For the uninitiated, making these choices is like flipping a coin.

Should you call donors?

No matter what side of the coin is shown after the flip, YOU SHOULD!!!!! Regular donor communications are key to any decent fundraising shop. But the more important question is why are you calling the donors? Is it for a status update? Perhaps a check-in? Maybe it’s even to ask for money.

Should you ask for money?

The two sides of the coin would be dependent on what you are going to do with the money. Some organizations need to increase their services due to the pandemic (like Social Service agencies), so the ask is pretty self-evident. Other organizations need to be ready to re-open post-pandemic. That is where the rub lies.

We need money for later.

And that’s okay. But raising money for the sake of raising money is really a circular argument. When will you have enough? How will you know that you have enough? Raising money for later only works effectively when it is accompanied by a well though-out plan with deliverables and milestones. To blindly give money to an organization that has neither foresight nor demand will eventually be proven to be in vain.

What about sponsorship?

This question is a bit trickier. The corporate sponsors that your organization has benefitted from may be experiencing revenue shortfalls themselves. Having a virtual event may not meet their needs for sponsoring your event in the first place (exposure, etc.). What I can tell you is that you will need to have sincere discussions with these Corporate Partners and make sure that both the corporation and your organization are aligned on the same page and managing expectations.

All to say that this is a very confusing time for non-profit organizations. What may work for Organization A may not work effectively for Organization B. One of the sentiments I have heard over the past while is that “we are in this together”. Maybe this can be translated into a collaboration between charities — maybe Organization A and Organization B don’t need to run a golf tournament for their own benefit. Maybe they can run one jointly. There is often strength in numbers.

There is no magic recipe for success. Some ideas will flourish while others die on the vine. But, I beseech you, whatever you do — do something. Because if you don’t, another organization will. That’s some free advice 😉

Until next week.