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Tips for fundraising in times of uncertainty

During this time of uncertainty, especially for nonprofits, here at 4aGoodCause we want to continue to provide you with resources and ideas to help you in the situations you find yourselves in. While we may not know right now how long we’ll be in the current economic climate, we know that even after we receive the “all clear” as it relates to Covid-19, there will still be work to be done—likely, more work.

To that end, we want to give you a fundraising plan for the now and the later—what can you do during the next days and weeks to communicate with donors and what can you plan for to be done later when we are feeling like we’ve weathered the storm?

Short-term fundraising ideas during a crisis

If your nonprofit has been affected by this virus, let your donors know. Show them how it is impacting you and how donors can help. 

1. Share your immediate, acute need.

Donors want to know how they can help with immediate needs. Do not be afraid to send out an emergency appeal. This video tutorial on how to do just that is a great place to start.

2. Turn in-person cancelations into online events.

Most events have been canceled and that is hard. Can you take the event virtual? Can you turn it into an online fundraising campaign? Can you give your attendees the option to donate instead since they are not able to gather?

3. Stay educated.

In this crisis, specifically, many organizations are opening up their digital doors to provide free training, webinars and services to support nonprofits in need. CharityHowTo has a free webinar nonprofits can attend related to events—do you cancel? Do you wait it out? They are also offering one titled, “Fundraising in the time of coronavirus: How to manage and modify your fundraising”.

4. Use video as a way to stay connected and inform.

Facebook Live. Instagram Live. Zoom video calls with your board or team. These are all great ways to stay connected and communicate your story, your needs, your actions. Do not be afraid to make asks here. Share links to your online fundraising pages and create these virtual events as a way to both stay connected and provide ways to give.

While it may seem hard to do so, we must also remain calm as the face of our organizations. Be truthful and honest but stay positive. Your donors look for that reassurance as do those that benefit from your services. Consider adding a FAQs page on your website for questions that pop up or to gather information that would be helpful for everyone during this time.

Long-term fundraising ideas for the future

While our hope is that something of this global magnitude doesn’t happen again, we must plan for similar situations down the road. Steel yourself for a future recession; hard times will not pass immediately and may come again.

1. Think through your fundraising “mix”.

What can you set up for the future that provides a more solid approach to where your donations come from? Have you exhausted all channels (online, in-person, digital events, direct mail, etc.)? When we distributed more of our eggs throughout many baskets, we mitigate risk.

2. Double down on donor retention.

As in the hiring world, where it costs less to retain great employees, the same can be said for our donors. Focus on the donors you have, set up monthly and recurring giving options, and develop strong relationships with donors throughout the year so that they are more apt to be there for you in bigger times of need.

3. Focus on monthly giving.

Smaller donations can be made on a monthly basis, providing a good entry point for new donors or, donors who don’t have as much to give right now. And, if you’re already focusing on donor retention, you’ll have a higher chance of raising more funds over the long term. This strategy will also help you be able to make better predictions for what will come in each month. By implementing a monthly giving program, you are less vulnerable to the loss of one or two major events, and event cancellation or, in the case of present-day, a downturn in the economy.

We may not know what the future will bring, but we can do our best to work through what we have now and prepare for new situations down the road. Be transparent, plan ahead and breathe. We will all get through this together.

Want to learn more?

Join me on April 9th for a free webinar, Online Fundraising During a Crisis: What to do Now (and in the Future).  Learn actionable steps a small-to-midsize nonprofit can take to raise money online during (and after) the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Hope to see you there!

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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