“Hold the line…love isn’t always on time…oh oh oh.” (Familiar with this Toto song?)
Like love, flights out of Newark, expense reports (at least mine) and fundraising campaigns – sometimes we just don’t have control over things being “on time.”
We’ve said before that donors don’t really care that you were supposed to finish your annual campaign in March. Or that your capital campaign was supposed to be in the “community” phase by now. Especially during today's uncertainty, most people don’t care that your campaign timing might be off.
But you care, and your donors DO care about you. In the bigger picture, your work today will contribute to the future of your organization. Here are some thoughts that can help you hold the line* and remain steady in the transformational work you do.
Your Annual Campaign
This challenge doesn’t mean your campaign is over. In fact, your cause will probably become even more important than ever before. We’ve heard from many of you that donors are still responding to the community’s immediate needs (especially if your organization is responding in real time). We’ve seen some of you schedule virtual kickoff events or shift to a greater online presence to create giving opportunities.
The number one thing we’re encouraging our non-profit colleagues to do is to touch base and tune in to the well-being of your closest friends and supporters. (Check out our 13-minute "In the Tent" podcast on this topic.) A personal phone call to say, “I’m thinking of you. How are you doing through all this?” can go a long way. If given the opportunity, express the ways in which your organization is stepping up to help the community right now. And, be ready to offer a response to the question, “How can I help you?” People still want to help, so give them a concrete way to do so.
Your message today is different - and more urgent - than before. We’ve heard from many of you who are making a difference on the front lines. Providing child care for health care workers. Establishing food distribution centers or virus testing centers out of your parking lots. Reaching out to seniors to make sure they have what they need. Your work of serving the community is more important than ever. Keep telling your story.
You’ve got staff, volunteers, board members and donors all scrambling with their own families and well-being. One thing that shouldn’t change right now is your communication with your people. Several teams are dividing responsibilities of reaching out to other staff, volunteers and board members to check in and simply stay connected. Stay connected to your people.
Through all of this, remember that the timeline never really mattered to your donors. But if you stay close and communicate your mission, they will be there for you now and when this has passed.
Hold the line.
*Need a little levity? Try blasting some Toto for 4 minutes and see what inspiration develops:
Fundraising in Uncertain Times
Do you need to talk to someone about the challenges your organization is facing? Contact us and request a free consultation.
We have updated our resource page on Fundraising in Uncertain Times. including recordings from recent DBD webinars and new podcasts with non-profit leaders from across the country!