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We know our current environment presents challenging times. You’ve had to reinvent just about everything you do – from communicating with your donors to delivering your organization’s services. 

Just about everything is different.

All of these hurdles are interesting to donors! Believe it or not, they actually want to hear about your changes, the issues you are grasping with, the shifts you are making. 

As we’ve said earlier, it’s certainly not business as usual these days. 

So we want to reiterate – you have NEWS to share with your donors. News they are open to hearing about. 

Here are three ways that the current environment opens unique opportunities for fundraising  – new doors to donors. 

1. You have a special opportunity to reengage your donors in your vision for the future.

We recently talked about the fact that a small goal and a small vision won’t cut it in this environment. Remember, the bigger your vision, the more money you can raise. 

You can inspire and reengage your donors right now with an exciting big picture vision of the impact you can make in your community. 

Tough times call for new plans, new visions, new excitement. Donors usually don’t want to give to just the status quo. They do want to give to an exciting initiative. 

These times call upon us to create new initiatives. Then we can easily offer a special project to a donor to peak their interest in funding it.

2. You have new chances to gain access to donors.

Share with donors your plan for moving your organization ahead in this environment. They are open to new kinds of communication. 

Donors are more available now, since many have cut their outside commitments and travel. They may be hungry for good news. 

So reach out to your donors. 

Hold zoom briefings on various aspects of your service area. Have a town hall with your executive director or president. Introduce key program managers to your donors, and let program staff share directly how things are going. 

We want to be clear here – you have an opportunity like no other right now. To be in communication with your stakeholders, major donors, and funders. This environment has made it easier to gain access and get their attention.

So, go for it! Be in frequent touch with your donors. Share the news they are interested in!

3. You have a unique opening to ask for what you need – NOW.

Right now, you have needs that are clear and present. There are new ways of doing business. Your institution might be shifting to digital.  Even more, your cash flow may be seriously down. 

Again, be clear with donors about how they can help. Share with them the impact they can make with their gift – right now. 

You have a unique opportunity right now to connect with donors about specific issues. However, you have to speak plainly. No jargon. No “pat” phrases you’ve been using for years. 

It’s time to reinvent your language to be more authentic, transparent, and informal. 

Can you make that change? 

It’s harder than you think, because you are used to speaking certain ways that are probably too formal and abstract for your donors today. 

You have an opportunity to shape a very powerful, urgent ask right now. Create compelling stories about how you are impacting the world. Your donors will respond! 

Bottom Line: Go forward vigorously! This is the time to step it up, and your donors will follow. 

 

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you. 

If you are planning a capital campaign and would like to learn about our unique Capital Campaigns by the Numbers approach, let us know. You can also join our INSIDERS community for more fundraising training and content. We would love to have you! 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

If you’re a board member serving an institution or organization, you are probably dealing with many challenging decisions in this time of crisis.

This is a difficult time for everyone and board decision-making is not easy. Your organization may be facing serious financial issues.  Or, the pandemic may require shutting down parts of your work. Even more, your hardworking staff may need to reinvent your programming and services. 

With everything now upended, many boards face decisions that involve major restructuring of programs and initiatives.  In these times, boards are creating new strategies and policies that can have major long term impact. 

How is your board approaching decision-making in times of crisis?

We’re currently seeing some boards step up to the plate and make bold strategic moves. Because of wise decisions now, they are setting their institutions up for a successful post-pandemic future. 

Other boards are taking a slash and burn approach – cutting staff, programming and revenue streams in an effort to save the organization. Other, less bold boards are simply withdrawing from their roles, leaving their organizations adrift.

Here are three ways that brave, committed board members can approach the current crisis:

1. Step up to the plate and deal with the difficult decisions.

Board members, your time is now! Of all times, this is the time to pay deep attention. When there is a crisis, it’s urgent that the board step up and face the issues frankly.

Renew your personal commitment to your organization to support its mission, no matter what effort it takes. Educate yourself thoroughly on what’s happening.  Explore options. Look at the deeper issues thoughtfully. 

This is absolutely not a time to step aside. Bring the best of yourself to your work and your role. Thoughtful decisions take time. So, put in the time you need to ponder the implications of these difficult decisions.  

2. Commit yourself to the long-range overall health of your organization. 

Make sure that you keep the bigger picture in mind. Once the current crisis passes, then how will your organization fare? Will your nonprofit be in a position to move forward vigorously? 

Or will it be crippled with a lack of trained staff or decreased fundraising revenue? If board decision-making considers only the short term and not your long term positioning, then your organization may not make it on the other side.

3. Consider your organization’s long-term financial health.

Above all, don’t cut your fundraising program. And, don’t layoff your fundraising team. Remember the revenue relationship:  your fundraisers are responsible for a significant part of your revenue stream. 

If you cut back fundraising right now, you are cutting off major sources of current cash flow. 

And think outside the box, the pandemic has really provided some unique opportunities for fundraising!

Cutting fundraising programs right now will irrevocably hamper long-term cash flow. This is because you will lose vitally important donor relationships that you have already invested so much in. 

When your donors are no longer hearing from you or their regular fundraising staffer, they will gradually drift away to other organizations, ones who are fundraising. 

What will be the result?  Your organization will be poorly positioned to grow and flourish when times move forward.  You may have even more severe financial challenges, because your revenue streams have been irrevocably damaged.

It may be wise to consider pulling reserves out of your endowment to cover short-term cash flow issues, rather than cutting so severely that your organization is crippled when the pandemic is over. 

Bottom Line: The key decisions you make now will have long-term impact.

Adapting to this changing environment is not easy. But there are many resources out there, such as blog posts and trainings, that will help your board, and your organization, understand how to quickly pivot fundraising strategies in order to keep operating. Use these resources, and dig deep. Now is the time to move forward boldly and make key decisions.

Make these decisions carefully, considering all options – and keep the endgame in mind. 

 

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you.  We hope you will continue to capitalize on our years of experience by joining us Wednesdays at noon ET on Facebook Live and following us on social media. 

Planning a capital campaign? If you would like to learn about our unique Capital Campaigns by the Numbers approach, let us know. You can also join our INSIDERS community for more fundraising training and content. We would love to have you! 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.