Nonprofit Fundraising in a Shifting Environment

Fundraising is always challenging, but it is even more so when the ground beneath you is shifting quickly and in unpredictable ways. So how can you navigate and plan your fundraising efforts during this uncertain time?

While COVID-19 is a new type of crisis, nonprofits have faced various challenges in the past. Here are some of important lessons that apply to today’s precarious environment: 

Be a strong and present leader. 

If there were ever a time for strong leadership, this is it. Leadership is critical during uncertainty.  It’s the key to your nonprofit’s survival.   Leaders need to share their vision clearly and boldly and take charge. They need to be transparent.   During a crisis, employees need to hear from their leaders even more frequently. 

Be the calm. 

Acknowledge where we are. Uncertainty is hard. This is a difficult time. However, panicking isn’t going to help. The people your nonprofit serves are counting on you. So are the donors. Do your best to stay calm and level-headed. In the end, this will make you an even stronger fundraiser. 

Be proactive and plan.

It is easy to be reactive during a crisis, however we are not at the beginning of this crisis. Now is the time to pivot to being proactive, if you haven’t already.  

Come up with a plan. Plot out the coming months the best you can. And be prepared to change along the way. Listen to the numbers. Listen to your donors. Be creative.

Have a backup plan. Or two.  Be prepared for different scenarios from the worst case to the best case. 

Go back to the basics.

In this complicated time, don’t forget the basics. Make sure your web site is up to date, your thank you letters are still going out on time, emails and calls from donors are getting returned, and so on.  

Communicate clearly.

Donors want to help. Always and especially in a crisis. You owe it to donors to make your communications clear, relevant, and honest.

What might be obvious to you, might not be for donors. So make it super easy for them to understand how you have adapted to this challenging time, where you need their support, and the urgency behind it. Don’t be afraid to ask for their help.

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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