Six Tips to Fundraise in Uncertain Times

Six Tips to Fundraise in Uncertain Times

Six Tips to Fundraise in Uncertain Times

  • On February 8, 2021

There’s always a bit of “wish and a prayer” in annual nonprofit revenue projections. (“We made $100k this year? Sure, we’ll be able to hit $125k next year.”

But this year, wishes and prayers may be taking more of a starring role in the planning process, as uncertainty around COVID-19 restrictions continues.

Here are six tips for fundraising in uncertain times:

  1. Triple down on major giving. We know the pandemic is exacerbating income inequality and concentrating gains and savings at the top … and to meet our goals, we need to go where the money is. Now’s the time to go deeper into your donor list, looking for mid-range givers who have the capacity to do more now than ever before.
     
  2. Offer partygoers alternatives. Galas won’t be back this year, so those donors will need a different approach. Would they join a giving circle that offered virtual cocktail parties or “exclusive” (aka: small) in-person events? Would your corporate event sponsors let you use their gift as a challenge grant for Amplify Austin?

    Our experience has been that virtual events can’t match in-person revenue … so make sure you’re capturing as much of your “usual” revenue as you can, whether you host a virtual gala or not.
     
  3. Encourage monthly and multi-year gifts. If you haven’t yet, now’s the time to give these programs a name, talk about them often, and spotlight the forward-thinking donors who join. The subscription business model (like Netflix or Stitch Fix) works beautifully for nonprofits, too — no matter how long we all have to stay inside.
     
  4. Develop a proactive acquisition strategy. The average donor retention rate, year over year, is 40-45%. Without in-person events, how will your organization acquire new donors this year? Ignoring your pipeline risks making a short-term situation a long-term disaster, so make sure you’ve got a plan to get in front of new potential donors.
     
  5. Don’t forget planned giving. Do you know what else happens in times of uncertainty? People update their wills. Make sure you’re reminding your donors regularly about the power and opportunity of legacy giving.
     
  6. Ditch your annual plan. We’re firm believers in the power and value of annual fundraising plans. But there’s too much uncertainty in this climate to make confident predictions about the 3rd or 4th quarter. So this year, make planning a quarterly or semiannual process so you can adjust as you go. 

     These times present challenges, but we’re here to help. 2021 offers unique opportunities to advance your mission and deepen your relationships with your donors. Here’s to making it your best year yet! 🥂