Nothing’s Normal. Here’s How to Succeed.

Nothing’s Normal. Here’s How to Succeed.

  • On November 20, 2020
  • communications, fundraising

So much has changed in the past eight months. 

You’ve become an expert in lighting and editing, and taken a crash course in Zoom as a fundraising tool.

You’ve applied for emergency funding or forgivable payroll loans.

Your plan for the year was most likely tossed out the window sometime in July. With ideas for events and meetings, it’s probably a relic as useless as if it was written in hieroglyphics.

But one thing hasn’t changed: truly transformational giving still comes from authentic connections with donors and funders. The challenge is how to make those connections when you can’t be face to face.

It’s time to get creative … and that doesn’t mean changing your Zoom background.How can you stay connected to donors when you can’t be together? That’s the key question to answer in the coming months. 

If your cultivation and stewardship process usually includes a tour of your facilities, you might consider calling donors and “touring” them through video on your phone. It’s not quite the same as being there, but it still gets donors close to what’s happening in your organization. (Even if your facilities are empty because of COVID! Empty playrooms tug at heartstrings!)

If your organization is responding to the pandemic with new programs or services, it might make sense to hold a “town hall” or an informal meeting where donors can ask questions and get inside information from program staff. 

Technology doesn’t always have to be the answer; you might also consider creating outdoor opportunities for engagement. Could you host a parking lot summit? A front steps performance? Could you meet a donor in a park instead of at a restaurant? 

Also remember the power of a hand-delivered gift to show your gratitude and keep their interest. You could host a coffee hour and drop off a branded coffee mug beforehand. You could host a *cocktail* hour and drop off the ingredients for a signature drink. In the past months, we’ve delivered cookies, cheese platters, cocktails, books, branded face masks, t-shirts, and cinnamon rolls on behalf of our clients. Each gift was an invitation for further engagement — a strategic investment in these challenging and uncertain times.

Here’s the bottom line: authentic communication with donors is still the key to success. If you keep that in mind, you’ll build relationships that will help you weather these storms.