Let’s start with a pretty obvious truth and a positive note: none of us are sure how the world is going to look after shelter in place and travel restrictions are lifted. The world is in a state of uncertainty, but we can prepare ourselves for likely outcomes. This isn’t so different than how we should handle every situation, though, fundraising or otherwise.
Now some statistics to kick-off what this means for you as a nonprofit or charity:
- 46% of consumers (i.e. your donors) believe that the U.S. will reach its “new normal” in the next six months
- The other 54% expect it to take even longer, with 20% reporting that they expect us to be dealing with a changing situation for over a year
- Only 16% of consumers expect things to return to pre-COVID-19 norms
- 20% of donors say they won’t be donating until the economy is back to normal
- 53% of donors will be “more carefully giving than before” with the rest giving the same as before
Some of this points back to how we started — we’re in a state of uncertainty. But now that we have three months of information on how donations are being affected, we can start to plan. Nonprofits should plan on donations being less frequent for at least the next six months, however, it’s not all bad news. It’s been noted that while there are fewer donations going to nonprofits, the average size of those donations has been on the rise. Those donors who can still give or were less affected by COVID-19 are looking to support more.
How can nonprofits use this knowledge?
- Segmentation by Age
Utilize segmentation and variable ask arrays to your advantage. Younger generations are most likely to draw back their giving, while 72% of baby boomers have said that they aren’t facing financial challenges from this. Your older donors are going to be the ones most likely to keep giving at their prior levels or higher. Therefore, it’s important to continue to ask for their support and tell them how vital their donations are.
- Shift from In-person to Virtual Work
Plan for less in-person fundraising and potentially less in-person work. Office life as we knew it may not come back. Nonprofits should prepare to develop teamwork remotely and understand how best to satisfy their office needs from a distance. Test out setting up team check-in’s to keep everyone on the same page when you’re unable to pop into the offices.
- Contactless Fundraising Ideas
Nonprofits will also benefit from investigating in ways to satisfy volunteer and donor needs from a distance. Email is an effective virtual way to get 1-to-1 interactions with your donors and supporters. Web-to-print nonprofit direct mail is a contactless solution to inform donors and volunteers about your work and what’s needed, and direct mail fundraising can help bring in the donations needed to make it through this time. Now could be the right time to make an effort shifting other organizational needs to contactless as well such as changing your normal events to virtual events, becoming more active on your website, and engaging on social media channels — or getting started on social.
We know it’s impossible to predict what will happen in times like this. What we can tell you is that those nonprofits who prepare and are agile are usually those that come out best after.
To end things on a positive note — people are recognizing the hard work of nonprofits supporting those who need it most in these trying times. Throughout this crisis, consumers’ trust in charities is up. 25% more consumers believe that charities are doing “good or excellent work” than a year ago. Nonprofits efforts aren’t going unnoticed, so let’s keep going and continue to build a better world for the future.
Data for this blog was sourced from Merkle’s weekly nonprofit update
For more fundraising advice and news, check back for new posts on our nonprofit fundraising blog. If you’d like help with your direct mail fundraising, GivingMail offers nonprofit direct mail solutions. Here are some nonprofit fundraising ideas to get you started.
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