We have some “big picture” guidance for Fundraisers today.
(All of this will make more sense if you’ve downloaded our free guidance on Fundraising In a Pandemic: What Will Happen, How You Can Succeed.)
First, here’s an update based on what we’re seeing and the results the organizations we serve are experiencing:
- The bad news – I suspect “the slump” is going to last longer than we expected. The number of things being canceled this fall implies that the economy won’t be up to full speed for months. This will lengthen the slump.
- The great news – “the bump” is much larger and lasting a lot longer than we originally expected. A majority of our clients are having record-breaking springs. If you’re not fundraising right now, you should be. Donors want to help right now. As @PatrickTiernan said recently on Twitter, “Charitable giving allows people to exert a sense of control in a world that is otherwise spinning.”
And now, a word about the future. Most organizations are going to face two significant challenges over the coming months.
Modifying your fundraising so that it’s relevant to donors, while still following direct response best practices.
Because if your fundraising sounds like it’s business-as-usual, it will sound irrelevant to your donors in the new world we’re living in.
Your go-to offers will work best if they’re recontextualized to today’s world. Additionally, you probably have new offers available to you (new things you’re doing, new needs you’re meeting, new expenses you’re incurring, new revenue shortfalls you’re experiencing, etc.)
This is going to be hard work.
Staying the course when you start raising less money.
Sooner or later, that appeal that annually brings in $50k is going to bring in $35k. And then that email that usually brings in $35k is going to bring in $26k.
You’re going to be tempted to mail less. To stop spending money to acquire new donors. And to cancel that campaign.
But that’s almost always the wrong approach. Because during “the slump,” you’re playing a longer game than normal – you’re playing for mindshare. And you don’t keep mindshare by slowing your communications.
Because if you stay top-of-mind for your donors – when “the surge” comes – it will happen faster for your organization, and you’ll raise more money.
It’s Nice to Have a Map
We keep hearing from Fundraisers (and Board members and E.D.s) that they don’t know what to do next because the world is so different right now.
We’re sharing the updates above, and published Fundraising In A Pandemic so that any Fundraiser can have a “map” for what the next few months will look like.
Remember, organizations like yours have survived (and even thrived) fundraising situations like this one before.
And if you’d like help during this crazy time, get in touch. We can help you keep your fundraising relevant during the coming months, or even create your fundraising for you.
Good luck out there! And right now, perhaps more than ever, “lean in” to donor generosity. They want to help!