Fundraising During COVID-19

By May 1, 2020Fundraising

If you’ve been hesitant to restart fundraising activities during COVID-19, there’s good and bad news. The good news is that it’s not in poor taste or tone-deaf to restart your organization’s fundraising activities during the pandemic. Although their attention is elsewhere, most people recognize that nonprofits still need money to continue their good work.

The bad news? In-person fundraising activities are canceled, at least for the foreseeable future, until scientists provide us with a vaccine, a cure, or both for COVID-19.

But take heart—even if you count on the annual silent auction or dinner-dance for most of your funds, you can switch to fundraising online. And, if your organization is also using technology to support its fundraising activities, you’re in an excellent position to continue operations.

What Do Donors Want?

Donors want two things: transparency and accountability.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are over 1.5 million charitable organizations registered in the U.S. with the IRS. Nonprofits must work hard to secure donations when donors have so many choices.

Take steps to ensure that your organization’s activities are visible. Keep your website up to date as well as your social media channels. Use stories, case studies, and data to illustrate the work that you’re doing. A donor-centric approach to fundraising means putting your donor’s needs front and center. When you do this, all of your digital communications will be both accountable and transparent.

Keep in Touch Regularly

Some nonprofits fear that they send too many messages. In their quest for both transparency and accountability, their communications manager sends emails, newsletters, and direct mail to donors. How much is too much?

According to the Network for Good, 28% of recurring donors say that the best thing a nonprofit can do to keep them engaged is to send plenty of success stories and communications. Only 4% of respondents to their survey said that nonprofits send too much information. The same study says that 40% would like communications from their favorite nonprofits once or twice a month.

Keep the good news coming. Donors want to know what their favorite organizations have accomplished!

Doing Digital Donor Relations Right: 5 Must-Have Tools

There are many ways to keep in touch with donors. The following five digital communication tools can be used to support donor communications and outreach and ensure fundraising efforts remain consistent. You’re probably using many of these digital communication tools right now. Track, monitor, and measure the response to each, and use more of what works to improve digital fundraising and donor relations.

  1. Email: Emails are the most popular digital fundraising tool in use. Email ‘blasts’ or messages sent to your entire list with a fundraising appeal can be easily tracked and measured. A clear call to action or request to donate positioned prominently within the email can improve response rates.
  2. Blogs: A blog can be used to share stories and updates. Tools added to blogs can automatically send links from new posts out to your social media sites. Blogs are also useful for SEO or search engine optimization. Each time you publish a piece on your blog, it adds one more way for search engines to help people find your nonprofit, so consider the topics of your blog posts and the keyword phrases you select for the issue very carefully; and use free tools like Google Keyword Planner to assess potential traffic for a keyword phrase.
  3. Social media: Social media remains a popular medium to connect with the public. Use plenty of photos and keep profiles updated. Monitor social media channels for questions and respond promptly.
  4. Online giving pages: Specific pages on your site dedicated to encouraging online giving are a great way to use your site for fundraising.
  5. Mobile giving: Mobile giving is a text-to-donate method that enables people to text donations to your organization. The 2019 M + R Benchmarks Survey states that mobile fundraising has a 13% click-through rate, which is noticeably higher than other channels.

These are just a few ideas of how your organization can continue its fundraising activities right now. If you’ve been hesitant to ask for donations during the pandemic, when so many people are out of work or on partial pay due to social distancing, hesitate no longer. Many people remain employed, and loyal supporters want to hear from their favorite nonprofits. To remain silent is to be forgotten; stay top of mind by using digital technology.

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.