Isn’t it odd that, during the pandemic, many organizations whose work had nothing to do with the pandemic raised record amounts of money?
What should that strange fact teach Fundraisers who are paying attention? Because on the surface of things it sure doesn’t make sense.
I think there are a bunch of reasons, and here’s my attempt at a summary…
People give charitable gifts to exert a little control over the world.
All of us like feeling that we have control in their lives. The pandemic took away that control. Jobs were lost, jobs changed, we couldn’t leave the house, etc.
Yet people still had a deep need for control.
One of the things they did was give to charities. They gave, according to their priorities, to exert a little control over the world. To remake a little bit of the world into the world they wish it was.
Those people – your donors – determined their priorities long ago. They had their priorities before they started giving to your organization, and will most likely have those priorities after they have finished giving to your organization.
The pandemic changed their circumstances, but did not change their priorities.
And For Today…
The principle we’re discussing is good to remember if North America slides into a recession.
If (when?) that happens, the voices at nonprofits will start sharing their reasons that “we shouldn’t be asking donors for gifts right now.”
But remember: the recession might change donors’ circumstances, but it won’t change their priorities.
That’s exactly when you need to remember to be sold out for your cause. Give your donors a chance to “exert a little control over the world” through your organization to help your cause or beneficiaries.
Everyone (and by that I mean your beneficiaries, your donors, and your organization) will be glad you did.
(H/t to Andrew who recently reminded me of this in a meeting.)