As we write this post, 49 of 50 U.S. states have set health criteria or hard dates for a full reopening, according to the New York Times. Of those, all but 15 states are already fully open! That means that across the country, summer music festivals are returning, baseball stadiums will soon be filled to capacity and parents are hopeful that in-person school will be the norm once again come the fall.
The fact that this is possible is a massive testament to both the resiliency of the American people and the extraordinary scientific advancements made in the fight against COVID-19. The nation is riding high on a wave of restored normalcy, but what does that mean for nonprofit fundraising?
A reopened U.S. will still be faced with a myriad of social and economic challenges – and the global fight against COVID-19 is not over by a long shot. These truths will inevitably affect the way nonprofits fundraise once again. Over the past 14 months, Global Impact has provided advice on how to adapt to the pandemic – now, we will show you how to navigate this new phase of recovery with your fundraising strategy:
- Attitude of gratitude: There is no such thing as over-thanking a donor. In 2020, the global philanthropic community stepped up in a huge way, powering a tidal wave of giving that, while not evenly distributed, still allowed the nonprofit industry to remain afloat and continue improving lives. Taking the time to thank (and thank again and again) the donors who stepped up in the most challenging year in recent memory will cement your organization in their consciousness. Everyone wants to be part of a team, and if you make it clear that your donors truly made a difference, they will be sure to keep you in mind.
- Meet donors where they are: Typically, this truism means to connect with your donors on an emotional and financial level: striking the right tone and properly sizing requests in order to achieve results. However, in the near future, the phrase can be taken much more literally. In-person meetings with major donors, Board members and other key stakeholders will again be possible. Take it slow – small groups, outdoor settings, limited travel – but get ready for highly effective in-person meetings once again. However, not everyone may be comfortable with these get togethers yes. Be sure to make asking donor about their comfort level part of your routine.
- Hybrids go further: As we showed in our recent events webinar, COVID-19 will leave a long legacy of hybrid events. For the foreseeable future, combining the best of virtual events (accessibility, cost, recordability) and in-person events (intimacy, energy, fundraising efficacy) will be the best path forward for gala-type events. Hybrid events respect health concerns, allow for long-distance connections, and will only become more innovative and effective as time goes on and best practices are refined.
- Zoom out the COVID-19 lens: A key part of messaging around the start of COVID-19 was articulating how your programs were being impacted by the pandemic, as we outlined in the second installment of our 2020 Triple Threat blog series. If consultations became virtual, food packets were larger and less frequent, or medical interventions transitioned to COVID-19 treatment, letting your donors know was crucial. Now, as the U.S. reopens, we must once against be transparent and clearly explain how programs are changing. If your work is returning to the status quo, that is a huge success! Celebrate it. If it’s still impacted by COVID, make that clear! Vaccines and other medical assurances are not evenly distributed, and your donors will be keen to help you reach people who are not yet experiencing the same restored normalcy as much of the U.S.
- Time is of the essence: Know that if you are considering how to adapt to the new norms this summer, then so are your competitors and peer organizations. Acting quickly to seize on the moment and capitalize on these new opportunities is crucial. This is also a great time to diversify your asks and portfolio. Be bold, explore and survey the space as widely as possible. Ground your funding requests in time, making them specific to the historical moment we are sharing, and the impact it has on your work and beneficiaries. A rising tide lifts all boats, so you still need to work hard to differentiate yourself and grab your donor's attention.
At Global Impact, we can help you diversify your fundraising strategy, launch donor initiatives and boost fundraising performance. Our team offers customized services to meet your specific needs and goals as a mission-driven organization. If you are interested in learning more about how Global Impact can help you achieve your goals, please send us a note!