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April 6th, 2020

With the current state of the world ceasing normal activities, it’s easy to dismiss standard business practices in favor of novel approaches. Certainly, special considerations are needed, but most non-profits can benefit from sticking to traditional best practices during these difficult times:

1.Engaging Communications: Be out there. Open, transparent, and engaging interactions with your audiences are always important. With social distancing diminishing many meaningful personal engagements, try to fill that void.

2. Ask – Donors Want to Give: Don’t stop fundraising. It might seem awkward to solicit funds, but donors are still motivated to solve problems—especially for causes they care deeply about. Supporters still have the need for optimism, so give them the opportunity to feel the “givers’ glow!”

3. Personalize. And personalize some more: Segment your file, possibly through modeling but certainly by preferred donor communication streams. Place additional resources on contacting midlevel donors and those in development portfolios—this is a perfect time to reach out to make sure your best supporters know they are valued. Personalized handwritten notes, special communications or even text messages will have high readership during social distancing.

Donor support and involvement is extremely valuable, now more than ever.

4. Thank, Thank, Thank: There is never a bad time to thank donors. Acknowledge monthly donors for their recurring support which continues to be put to work during the crisis. Add special messaging to existing acknowledgments that addresses the current environment and how their support is being used. Explore ways to express gratitude.

5. Embrace Donor Love: Focus on the “You”, as in “You” for the donor, not “You” for your organization. Donor support and involvement is extremely valuable, now more than ever. Let them know how their support makes a difference and let them know you care.

6. Track and Follow with Data: There really can’t be a best practice list without a mention of data. All new communications and interactions should flow into your CRM for analysis with existing data to proactively respond in this ever-changing environment. 

Aren’t we really just saying follow the fundamentals? Pretty much. Simply fine-tune your approaches for special circumstances—and this is most certainly a special circumstance! 

The continued “shelter in place” guidelines are conducive to self-reflection, allowing non-profits to continue building meaningful relationships. In the end, donors (and prospective donors) want to be in a relationship that is mutually beneficial. Give that to them. Show them how important they are. 

Of all the people who need help right now, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” seems appropriate for both society and your fundraising efforts. 

  1. Blog written by Jeff Huberty | Executive Vice President and Partner