COVID-19: Four Ways to Regenerate Fundraising Momentum

Apr 30, 2020

We’re now deep into the coronavirus pandemic. There have been some encouraging signs in some areas of the United States. But some areas still seem quite far off from “returning to normal.” This realization has many fundraisers wondering how they can start regenerating their fundraising momentum, so they can hit the ground running when this is finally behind us.

As you know, an optimized donation page is more important than ever. And organizations can be much more flexible by using a digital first strategy during this challenging time.

But the best approach is different for every organization. It’s all about finding the strategy that best helps you reach your goals.

It’s more important than ever to take a step back and look at some alternative approaches to help you make up on lost revenue. The strategies we’ve used for years may not work in a post-COVID world. Taking these steps now will help you regenerate fundraising momentum now and help you become more resilient in the future.

Here are four ideas to consider:

Had to cancel an event Ask registered attendees to consider converting their ticket or registration fee into a donation

Convert Tickets to Donations

The pandemic hit right before the peak of nonprofit event season. It’s been a crushing blow to organizations that rely on these events to drive their fundraising efforts. We know how much it hurts if this is the first time you can’t hold your big annual event in decades.

But what can you do? The first step is to reach out to confirmed attendees who already bought tickets to your event. See how they’re doing and let them know how disappointed you are that you couldn’t hold this year’s event.

Then see if they would be willing to repurpose their event registration fee or ticket as a donation to your organization. Let them know how their money would be used to achieve the organization’s goals and think of ways to make it up to them at next year’s event.

You might also look into holding a virtual hang out for registered attendees who decide to convert their ticket into a donation.

Promote Your Sponsors

Your attendees aren’t the only ones who look forward to your fundraising event. Your sponsors are also missing out on a lot of promotion and the chance to make a difference by supporting your nonprofit’s work.

But as more events go virtual, it seems like some corporate sponsors are not getting enough attention.

We know you have a million things on your mind as you try to regenerate fundraising momentum. But your sponsors are an important part of what makes your annual event, and your mission, so successful.

So, don’t leave them out to dry!

Your nonprofit is probably trying to find ways to stay engaged without making an ask. So, now is a great time to promote the corporations supporting your nonprofit’s goals.

Consider a social media post thanking each of your sponsors or giving them a special thank you in your newsletter. And reach out to your sponsors to make sure they are satisfied with how their brand will be featured in any digital event materials. Be willing to make realistic accommodations as necessary!

If your mission was important before the pandemic, it's still worth supporting now!

Communicate Regularly

Keeping in touch with your donors is more important than ever. After all, if your mission was worth supporting before the pandemic, it is still important to your donors now.

Your most loyal donors feel a personal connection to your mission. They want to know how you’re moving forward during this challenging time. And just as you are worried about their wellbeing, they want to know you are OK too!

So, make sure you regularly keep in contact. Pick up the phone and give your major donors a call to check in. This is also a great time to get more active on social media, step up your newsletters, or even hold virtual meetings with groups of donors.

This is crucial to regenerate your fundraising momentum. If you’re radio silent throughout the entire pandemic, your donors will not be excited to hear from you again when this is all over. Especially if you just hit them with your next scheduled appeal!

Need to cut down on your budget, Move to a digital first strategy!

More Targeted Mail

Let’s be honest. When your fundraising revenue is down, the first step many organizations take is to cut their budget. Many have made the difficult decision to furlough some of their staff. But there are other ways to cut down on spending too.

One of the most efficient ways is to limit the cost of direct mail by making the mail you do send more targeted.

Yes, you should be exploring a digital first fundraising strategy. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon direct mail all together.

Instead, you should prioritize sending only to donors who are most likely to give through direct mail. Your database will help you determine who your most important direct mail only donors are. You can move many of your direct mail communications to email for the rest of your supporters.

Being more targeted with your direct mail now will also help you in the long run. You may find that you can still secure support while cutting costs, leaving more money to help you further your goals. What you learn now can help you be smarter with your solicitations for years to come.

Looking Towards the Future

Many organizations are struggling right now. But one thing is certain. Your nonprofit is going to have a harder time for longer if you expect to pick up your fundraising where you left off once the pandemic is over.

The end of the lockdown is still not in sight for most of the country. And things won’t go back to the way they were overnight once restrictions are lifted.

In fundraising, you often see the results of your hard work months down the line. That’s why it’s critical to focus on regenerating fundraising momentum now. You need to stay engaged with donors and give them ways to continue their support so you can hit the ground running once the world has healed.

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