Should you be actively fundraising right now? Yes or no?

If you are a no – then you have company. Many organizations are officially holding off on gift conversations or asks, even if their donors are ready have a gift discussion.

We think this is a lost opportunity. If your donor is ready and interested, why would you not give them the joy of knowing they are helping right now?

We believe that fundraising is perfectly appropriate right now – if you do it correctly. The appeal must be friendly, personal and specific.

The climate for giving is better than you think.

Today we wanted to share some news you may find surprising: Donors are still giving. And they are giving generously!

Let me repeat that.

Donors. Are. Still. Giving. Generously.

Yes, it’s true.

This is a highly unusual time. It’s unprecedented. No one has a playbook on what to do other than stay home. Nobody really has a plan.

So, what can people do? One of the very few actions anyone can take in the world is to reach out and help. What better way than to help financially?

You need to understand that compassion is in the air. Yes, people are anxious. But they also want to DO something to lend a hand. We are all in this together.

Your donors understand your financial issues. Your donors DO want to help you.

Here’s what we are seeing out in the field right now:

One of our capital campaign clients closed a $100,000 gift yesterday.

This organization is looking at a serious financial loss from cancelled performances and ticket sales. But they didn’t just run to their major donor asking for an emergency gift.

Instead, we advised them to approach the donor with a plan. It was buttoned up. It had real numbers for very specific projects and people.

What happened? The donor was happy to make the gift. She is a longtime supporter and fan of the organization and make a gift to their capital campaign. The donor was the perfect person to approach for interim funding to make up for financial losses.

Takeaways:
1. Your major donors are going to be loyal to you – now more than ever. They understand the need you have.
You would be remiss if you did not go see them and explain what you need.
2. If you are not directly involved in fighting the pandemic, you still have loyal donors who want to help you.
Remember, they are your stakeholders. They want to help. Let them know what you need.

One of our Major Gift Roadmap Clients received an unsolicited $5,000 gift.

This gift came in on the website out of the blue. What’s so interesting is that this donor had lapsed, and had not given in two or three years.

We are seeing lapsed donors giving again.

We recommend that it’s a great time to reach out to them, with a personal, authentic, transparent note. Share your situation with them and ask for their help. You’ll be surprised.

Takeaway: Don’t forget to reach out to your lapsed donors.

A Habitat capital campaign client is receiving a steady stream of gifts through their website.

You would not think of a Habitat organization as being front and center of the pandemic. Well, think again.

Many donors want to take some type of action in the world to help. Guess where they will turn?

They’ll turn to their favorite organizations – the ones they’ve been supporting all along. That means you and your organization.

This Habitat organization is loved by its community of supporters. Its brand is sterling. And its donors are giving.

Takeaway:
Just because your organization is not directly involved on the front lines of the pandemic, you can still raise money now.

Organizations are reaching out to past board members.

I have gotten two wonderfully personal past-board-member emails from organizations this week.

One opened like this: “As former Artspace board members, you are all part of the Artspace family and are near and dear to us.” (Note, it has been 20 years since I served on this board!)

They were kind, softer in tone, and friendly. Both reminded me of my past participation as a board member, and shared their current situation with me.

Both emails had a gentle soft ask. And it was the softness of the ask that made it so authentic, I think.

Here’s one ask:

If you would like to make a donation to Artspace, you can make an online gift hereYour donation of any size, will make a direct impact on our ability to continue to provide programming now and in the future.

Here’s the other ask:

If you feel comfortable doing so, I respectfully hope you will consider making a donation to help our work continue now and into the future.

Both of these are perfectly authentic. And as a former board member, I really wanted to help and responded immediately with a gift.

Takeaway:
Seek out your former board members. They will surprise you!

Bottom Line: Your loyal donors still care about you. Ask them for what you need.